WASHINGTON: The US Missile Defense Agency has said that it would soon test an anti-ballistic missile system, days after North Korea demonstrated its arsenal was capable of striking parts of Alaska.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to be tested is designed to intercept and destroy short-, mediumand intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.
The MDA yesterday said the test against a ballistic missile target would be conducted at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska.
THAAD "will detect, track and engage a target with a THAAD interceptor" rocket in "early July," the MDA said in a statement.
Though such exercises are planned months in advance, it comes after North Korea on Tuesday for the first time test fired an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching parts of the United States including Alaska.
THAAD is not designed to stop an ICBM -- that job is left primarily to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor system.
The US military this year began deploying THAAD to South Korea, a move that infuriated China, which has argued the deployment would further destabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula.
US THAAD batteries are also installed in Guam and Hawaii, designed to stop an intermediate-range missile from North Korea.