American interceptor rockets would "likely" knock down North Korean missiles before they ever reached the U.S. mainland, a Pentagon official said Friday.
"I believe we have a reasonable chance" of an intercept, Charles McQueary, director of operational test and evaluation for the Defense Department, told Bloomberg News. "I'd put it 'likely' — than 'highly likely' — as opposed to putting it 'unlikely."
Friday was McQueary's last at the Pentagon, after three years supervising interceptor missiles based in Alaska and southern California.
North Korea launched a long-range missile in early April, detonated a nuclear weapon underground this past Monday and has shot off six short-range missiles this week.
On Saturday, American officials said satellite images indicated the reclusive communist state was planning to launch another long-range missile.
"If North Korea launched a missile or two against us, we wouldn't sit back and say, 'I wonder if we have enough test data in order to launch,'" McQueary told Bloomberg news. "We would launch."