US plans first test of ICBM intercept, with NKorea on mind

FILE - In this May 21, 2107 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea’s nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – With North Korea’s nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.

The plan is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland. The test is scheduled for next Tuesday.

The U.S. interceptor has a spotty track record, having succeeded in nine of 17 attempts since 1999 and only one in the last four. The most recent test, in June 2014, was successful.

North Korea is now the focus of U.S. missile defense efforts because it vows to soon field a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching American territory. It has yet to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.

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