Anti-ICBM test
Anti-ICBM test Reuters

The United States on Tuesday tested its ability to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) using its own upgraded long-range interceptor missile.

The Missile Defense Agency launched a ground-based interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to intercept a U.S.-launched mock ICBM target over the Pacific Ocean, according to a U.S. defense official quoted by CNN.

The test was pre-planned, and it is not known yet whether it was successful, the network reported.

The American test comes just two days after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that traveled an estimated 248 miles, splashing down within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

On Monday, North Korea said its leader Kim Jong-Un personally supervised the test, adding that Kim was convinced his country "would make a greater leap forward in this spirit to send a bigger 'gift package' to the Yankees" in retaliation for American military provocation.

The incident comes just one day after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong-Un had overseen a test of a new anti-aircraft weapon system.

Just last week, North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile , which it claimed was also supervised by Kim.

The West is concerned that North Korea may be on a path to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea has declared that it could test-launch an ICBM “at any time” from any location set by its leader Kim Jong Un, though it remains unclear whether any of its recent tests have been of an ICBM.

The Pentagon insists the long-planned test of its ground-based interceptor system is not solely about North Korea, and the test is aimed at being able to challenge any threatening ICBM, including possibly from Iran in the future, according to CNN.

That test involves firing a new version of the military's single long-range ground-based interceptor missile, which is currently based in Alaska and California. That program has also been in existence for more than a decade but only about half of the tests have been successful, according to the Defense Department.

In Tuesday's test, an interceptor missile was launched from Vandenberg and attempted to intercept a simulated threat missile over the Pacific Ocean launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. This is the first test of the interceptor using an upgraded "kill" vehicle -- the part of the missile that would hit an incoming warhead.

Tuesday's test comes as the U.S. has ramped up other missile defense efforts, including the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea. Earlier this month, the U.S. military announced that the THAAD missile defense system had become operational.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shavuot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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