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United States conducts missile intercept test amid heightened tensions with North Korea

United States conducts missile intercept test amid heightened tensions with North Koreaā€¯

The Standard Missle-6 intercepted another missile fired by the USS John Paul Jones at sea, according the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, per CNN.

Monday's test missile was launched from Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai in Hawaii.

"We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone", in advancing the capability to intercept missiles, said Lieutenant General Sam Greaves, the director of the Missile Defense Agency, which is part of the Defense Department.

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"The number of countries with access to ballistic missile technology, including some with the potential to reach North America or target Canadian and allied deployed forces, has increased and is expected to grow and become more sophisticated", the policy says. Sailors aboard the destroyer USS John Paul Jones tracked it with radar and fired an interceptor missile to shoot it down.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been rising in recent months over Pyongyang's development of its nuclear program. It was the third time a North Korean missile overflew one of Japan's four main islands, with previous tests in 1998 and 2009. However, the August 30 test had been planned for a long time and before North Korea's latest missile launch.

The U.S. has lost a few Aegis destroyers in recent months, hindering missile defense in a volatile region.

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The principal objective of the launch was test to a new targeting software created to enable the SM-6 to intercept a ballistic missile warhead descending from the upper atmosphere at extreme speed. A Standard Missile-3 Block IIA jointly developed by the US and Japan failed to intercept its target. The military has conducted three tests in total, but during a test in June, the interceptor failed as a result of human error.

In that test, the interceptor collided with the ICBM-class target over the Pacific Ocean a little more than one hour after it was launched.

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