Amid a marked increase in launches of missiles by North Korea, the U.S. Air Force has completed a successful test of a ground-based interceptor designed to counteract any future attempt to direct an intercontinental ballistic strike.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has ramped up his rhetoric with aggressive talk threatening to deliver “merciless military strikes” and a “bigger gift package” for the U.S. and promising to hit Seattle with a nuclear blast by the end of the year.

Kim, however, has backed up the bravado with a series of missile tests in an effort to demonstrate its ability to hit China, Japan and its longtime foe, Seoul, South Korea, while developing the ability to strike its ultimate goal – the U.S.

The North Korean tests – three in as many weeks – have so far not hit an actual target, although the most recent splashed down in the Sea of Japan within what is called “the exclusive economic zone” increasing fears and prompting evacuations.

The U.S. interceptor, which was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California, traveled at thousands of miles per hour before scoring a direct hit the targeted a mock incoming missile northeast of Hawaii.

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The director of the Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency, Vice Adm. Jim Syring, said the defense strategic was like “hitting a bullet with a bullet.”

It was the first conducted in three years and another will take place later this summer in August or September.

The idea stems from a proposal floated during the Reagan years, the Strategic Defense Initiative referred to as “Star Wars,” to be able to respond to the nuclear threats posed by the Soviet Union during Cold War tensions.

The new budget before Congress allocates $7.9 billion on missile defense programs.

 

 
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