The US military claims to have successfully intercepted an intercontinental-range missile for the first time.
The test represents a critical milestone for the Pentagon’s defense system.
The interceptor was launched from a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and hit a test missile fired from the Pacific.
The development comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea. The isolated nation’s nuclear ambitions have injected a new sense of urgency into building an effective defense against the country and its unpredictable leader Kim Jong Un.
During the US-Soviet Cold War era, President Ronald Reagan vowed to develop a missile defense that became known as “Star Wars,” because it involved a satellite-based system. But technological progress was slow and opponents warned that an effective defense against the Soviets’ massive intercontinental missile arsenal might invite a first-strike before a system was perfected.