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Pentagon Conducts Latest Successful Test of US-Japan Interceptor

FILE - The U.S. Missile Defense Agency conducts an interceptor flight test from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex in Kauai, Hawaii, Dec. 10, 2015.

The U.S. military on Tuesday successfully conducted a test of a new ballistic-missile interceptor system, which is being co-developed with Japan.

The launch marks the second successful test in less than two months for the SM-3 Block IIA missile and its associated technologies, which had previously experienced failures.

According to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), sailors at the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, tracked and intercepted an intermediate-range missile with an SM-3.

The target in Tuesday's test was an air-launched missile, fired from an Air Force C-17 plane over the ocean thousands of kilometers southwest of the Aegis Ashore system.

"The engagement leveraged a ground, air and space-based sensor/command and control architecture," the MDA said in a statement.

In October, the U.S. military successfully shot down a medium-range ballistic missile with an SM-3.

That successful operation came after two failed intercept tests, in June 2017 and January 2018.

A test firing in February 2017 had been successful.

The MDA said this year that America had so far spent about $2.2 billion on the system and Japan had contributed about $1 billion.

The SM-3 Block IIA missile - made by arms giant Raytheon - is a key piece of NATO's missile defense system and is due to be deployed in Poland in 2020.

"This system is designed to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends from a real and growing ballistic missile threat," MDA Director Lieutenant General Sam Greaves said.