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US Conducts Successful Missile Interception Test

Posted June. 24, 2009 08:57,   


The U.S. military has conducted a successful test of its missile interception capability using the airborne laser amid signs that North Korea is preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on its Internet homepage Monday that the airborne laser system downed enemy missiles early after their launch over the Pacific Ocean June 6 and 13.

The laser is part of the first interception stage of the U.S. missile defense system. A high-powered laser beam is fired from an aircraft at a distance when enemy ballistic missiles reach 30 or 40 kilometers above ground after launch.

An aircraft carrying the laser takes off as soon as an enemy’s preparation for a missile launch is detected. The laser is fired to destroy the missiles up to 450 kilometers away from the launch site seconds after the projectiles get off the ground.

The Pentagon is keen on developing the system due to its mobility and ability to destroy several ballistic missiles at once.

In Northeast Asia, the North Korean vessel Kang Nam 1 has been chased by the U.S. Navy and Air Force since departing from the North’s port of Nampo June 17. The ship will soon dock at a Myanmar port about 30 kilometers south of Yangon, according to Irrawaddy, an online magazine operated by Myanmar journalists in exile.

Washington has dispatched the destroyer USS McCampbell and the Aegis-class destroyer USS John S. McCain to pursue the Kang Nam 1, which is sailing at a low speed in waters off southern China. The two destroyers are supported by the high-tech P-3 patrol aircraft.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday said the U.S. fears that the North could transfer nuclear technology to Myanmar’s junta.

Fox News and AFP quoted a U.S. military official as saying the North Korean ship is not highly fuel efficient. It is thus unclear whether the vessel will refuel in Singapore as planned or sail directly to Myanmar.

sechepa@donga.com ysh1005@donga.com