Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Amid increased tensions with North Korea, the U.S. Navy and the Missile Defense Agency on Wednesday shot down a ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii in a defense test -- which follows another launch by Pyongyang this week.
The MDA said the test missile was shot down by Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) guided missiles launched from aboard the USS John Paul Jones. Officials said the interceptor detected and tracked the target missile from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii's Kauai island.
"This was a key milestone in giving our Aegis [Ballistic Missile Defense] ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase," MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said in a statement Wednesday. "We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves."
The test came one day after North Korea test-fired an intermediate range ballistic missile, which flew over Japan -- frightening residents on the island of Hokkaido.
Wednesday's U.S. test marked the second time a Standard Missile-6 missile has shot down a medium-range missile target.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Air Force tested an unarmed ICBM on the California coast, which also followed a similar missile test by North Korea.