WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has reported a successful test of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, which shot down a target fired from Alaska.
Pentagon officials said the Friday test, the first in more than a year, occurred in space over the Pacific Ocean, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, the director of the Missile Defense Agency, said the test suggests the United States would have the ability to stop a ballistic missile in a limited attack.
"What we did today was a huge step in terms of our systematic approach to continuing to field, continuing to deploy and continuing to develop a missile defense system," Obering said. "This is a validation of the confidence I have in this system."
However, critics charged the test lacked realism and was staged to allow the Missile Defense Agency to claim a forward step the program after interceptors failed to even leave their silos in the previous tests in December 2004, the Times said.
"This test was as scripted as it can be," said Stephen Young of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which opposes the program.