According to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, their ground-based defense system has finally shot down an ICBM on the first try.
However, what it hit wasn’t actually an ICBM, but a simulated missile shot from the Marshall Islands, and the interceptor was shot from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Because the simulated missile doesn’t have the unpredictability, range, counter-countermeasures, or mass numbers of real ones, it isn’t representative of how well the military would be able to prevent an actual ICBM attack. Military officials still spoke highly of the event as a significant step.
The “kill vehicle” used in the test is a new kind, a 5-foot-long device that steers into the path of the oncoming missile, destroying it by the force of impact.