U.S. military sets high-stakes missile-shield test
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military is set to run a "realistic" test Friday of a system built to knock out long-range missiles that could be fired by North Korea or Iran, the Pentagon said.
The drill, over the Pacific, will be the first since September 2007 involving an attempted intercept by the sole U.S. shield against long-range ballistic missiles.
Boeing Co is prime contractor for the system, called the ground-based midcourse defense. It is part of an emerging, layered shield against missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.
"Target is representative of the type we would expect from a country like North Korea or Iran," said Richard Lehner, a spokesman for the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency.
"It is also realistic in terms of distance involved, trajectory, speed and timeframe, i.e., about 30 minute flight of threat missile," he said in an emailed reply to Reuters.