HONOLULU – The U.S. military's sea-based missile defense system on Thursday showed it could intercept two targets simultaneously when it destroyed a cruise missile and a short-range ballistic missile during a test off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
The test marked eight out of ten times the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy's Aegis missile defense system successfully intercepted its target. But it was the first time the system knocked out two targets at the same time.
A similar attempt failed in December when the first interceptor missile, designed to collide with the ballistic missile target, failed to launch. The military later determined the ballistic missile defense system had been incorrectly programmed.
The scenario for Thursday's test had the USS Lake Erie learning that "hostile forces" were preparing to attack a friendly nation. The sailors were told to protect the allied country.
Then the scenario called for the Lake Erie itself to come under attack from a cruise missile fired by an enemy plane.
The military fired the short-range ballistic missile target from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. A U.S. Navy plane fired the cruise missile target used in the test.
"The test demonstrated the USS Lake Erie's ability to engage a ballistic missile threat and defend itself from attack at the same time," the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.