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U.S. successfully tests ballistic missile interceptor
The interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. © USAF

U.S. successfully tests ballistic missile interceptor

The U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system has successfully completed its first live-fire test against an ICBM-class target.

The United States tested its Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system on 29th May, intercepting an intercontinental ballistic missile target for the first time. The test ICBM was fired from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and the interceptor launched from Vandenberg AFB, California.

It was the first live-fire test event against an ICBM-class target for GMD and the U.S. ballistic missile defence system.

The US Missile Defense Agency conducted the test with the support of the Air Force’s 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and US Northern Command.

In 2014, the US successfully tested the GMD against a long-range missile after a number of failed attempts between 2010 and 2013. The GMD is designed to destroy intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles threatening the U.S. homeland.

The Missile Defense Agency requested $7.9bn in its Fiscal 2018 budget request, including $1.5bn for the GMD. The agency says it is on track to increase the number of ground-based interceptors from 36 to 44 by the end of 2017.

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