LOS ANGELES, May. 30, (Xinhua) -- The launching of a missile from California Tuesday afternoon in a test meant to intercept an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over the Pacific was a success, a U.S. official said.
In this test, U.S. first fired a ballistic missile with a mock warhead from Marshall Island, located near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and then launched an interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, 250 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles.
The last time the U.S. launched an intercept test was in June, 2014.
But the U.S. officials downplayed the timing of the successful launch, occurring just days after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) test fired its third intercontinental ballistic missile in a week and the ninth test so far this year.
The test launch was planned last year in preparation for any DPRK intercontinental ballistic missile strike, the officials said.
"It represent the longest intercept test of a target to date in the program," said Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, at a press conference Monday.
Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis was quoted as saying that U.S. military could improve and learn from each test.
"The system that we test today is a developmental system that's being flown for the first time," he told ABC before the test, "We look forward to understanding the results so we continue to mature the system and stay ahead of the threat."