WOW: US Missile Defense Successfully Shoots Down ICBM in First Live-Fire Test of Its Kind.

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) is designed to intercept and destroy missiles during the midcourse of their trajectory through space. Tuesday’s test was the first time the system had faced a live-fire ICBM-class test, MDA said in a press release.

The interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and its “exo-atmospheric kill vehicle intercepted and destroyed the target in a direct collision,” the release said.

“The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program,” MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring said in a statement. “This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.”

I know a couple of the people involved in this test, and they’ve been working hard for years to make it a success — they must be feeling very proud this morning.