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US military shoots down ballistic missile, 2 cruise missile targets in test off Hawaii

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HONOLULU — The U.S. military has shot down three missiles nearly simultaneously during a test off Hawaii.

The Missile Defense Agency said Thursday that a short-range ballistic missile target and two cruise missile targets were fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

The agency says the Pearl Harbor-based destroyer USS John Paul Jones intercepted the ballistic missile by firing an SM-3 guided missile. The destroyer fired two SM-2 missiles to shoot down the low-flying cruise missiles.

Defense contractor Raytheon Co. says the SM-3 is designed to destroy ballistic missile threats by colliding with them in space. The SM-2 missiles help naval ships defend the airspace around them.

The test marks the 29th successful intercept in 35 attempts for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program since flight testing began in 2002.

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