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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

The U.S. missile defense system managed by the Boeing Co. hit a simulated enemy missile over the Pacific in a critical test on Sunday, the Defense Department said.

"This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defense system," the Missile Defense Agency's director, Vice Adm. James Syring, said in a statement.

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Technicians watch a missile test on Sunday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.Gene Blevins / Reuters

The Pentagon said initial indications showed that all components involved in the test performed as designed. It said program officials will spend the next several months assessing the performance of the system using telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

— Reuters