North Korea tensions: US shoots down medium-range ballistic missile in Hawaii test

North Korea tensions: US shoots down medium-range ballistic missile in Hawaii test

North Korea tensions: US shoots down medium-range ballistic missile in Hawaii test

Updated 31 August 2017, 21:40 AEST

The US military shoots down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii, officials say, in a bid "to stay ahead of the threat" posed by North Korea.

The US military has shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii, officials say.

The target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai Island.

Sailors aboard the destroyer USS John Paul Jones then tracked it with radar and fired an interceptor missile to shoot it down.

The Hawaii test gives Navy ships enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their last stage of flight, Lieutenant-General Sam Greaves, the director of the Missile Defence Agency, said.

"We will continue developing ballistic missile defence technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves," he said in a statement.

The destroyer fired a Standard Missile-6 or SM-6 interceptor.

It was the second time that particular type of missile had successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target, the agency said.

In June, the John Paul Jones failed to shoot down its target missile in a similar test off Hawaii.

A Standard Missile-3 Block IIA, jointly developed by the US and Japan, was unable to intercept its target.

The latest drill comes amid North Korea's ballistic missile tests and rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

On Tuesday, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, a close US ally, that landed in the Pacific Ocean.

US President Donald Trump said "all options are on the table" in response to the test.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for more weapons launches targeting the Pacific Ocean to advance his country's ability to contain the US territory of Guam, which is home to key US military bases.

AP