WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Department of Defense said Tuesday it intercepted two medium-range ballistic missile targets during a "complex" missile defense flight test over the western Pacific Ocean.
The flight test, conducted in the vicinity of the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site and surrounding areas, was planned more than a year ago, and "is not in any way connected to events in the Middle East," the Pentagon said in a statement.
The test was aimed at evaluating how the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ( THAAD) weapon systems function in a layered defense architecture and react to a raid of two nearly simultaneously launched ballistic missile targets, it said.
During the test, the two medium-range ballistic missile targets were launched on operationally realistic trajectories towards a defended area near Kwajalein.
The USS Decatur, using the Aegis Weapon System, detected and tracked the first target with its onboard radar and then successfully intercepted the target by launching a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA missile, the Pentagon said.
In a demonstration of ballistic missile defense system's layered defense capabilities, a radar with the THAAD weapon system acquired and tracked the second target, and then the system launched a THAAD interceptor missile, leading to the second successful intercept.
As a contingency in the event the SM-3 did not achieve an intercept, another THAAD interceptor was launched at the target destroyed by Aegis, it said.
"Initial indications are that all components performed as designed," the Pentagon said. The event "demonstrated integrated, layered, regional missile defense capabilities to defeat a raid of two threat-representative medium-range ballistic missiles in a combined live-fire operational test."
According to the statement, U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 62 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 78 flight test attempts since 2001.