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The system designed to protect the United States from an attack by long-range ballistic missiles intercepted a target missile in space during a test over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, announced the Pentagon. This was the first time in the past three tries since December 2010 that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense hit the target in a flight test. It was also the first shootdown attempt featuring the interceptor missile's new Capability Enhancement II kill vehicle, according to the Missile Defense Agency's June 22 release on Flight Test Ground Based Interceptor-06b. "I am very proud of the government and industry team conducting the test today," said Vice Adm. James Syring, Missile Defense Agency director. "This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase [GMD] reliability," he added. The test began with the launch of a threat-representative, intermediate-range ballistic missile target from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to MDA. About six minutes later, the GBI took off from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Once in space, the interceptor's kill vehicle maneuvered to the target and "intercepted the threat warhead," states the release.​​