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WASHINGTON D.C. (CBSMiami) – Amid growing concern over North Korea’s testing of long-range missiles, the Pentagon will be doing some missile defense system testing of its own Tuesday.

The Missile Defense Agency will see if the ground-based system can intercept and hit a mock target being launched from the Pacific Ocean. The test, the first of its kind in nearly three years, will take place at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The anti-missile system is intended to protect the U.S. from limited attacks involving intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles.

While the public will likely see the interceptor being launched from Vandenberg Tuesday afternoon, any intended collision will probably take place somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

The test comes just two days after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that traveled an estimated 248 miles, splashing down within Japan’s maritime economic zone.

The Pentagon insists the long-planned test of its ground-based interceptor system is not solely about North Korea, and the test is aimed at being able to challenge any threatening intercontinental ballistic missile, including possibly from Iran in the future.

The program has been in existence for more than a decade but only about half of the tests have been successful, according to the Defense Department. U.S. officials often call it a high-speed effort to hit a bullet with another bullet.


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