The US military is preparing for an upcoming test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, which is often touted by Washington as a deterrent against what it calls missile threats from North Korea.
The US Coast Guard issued a notice on Sunday, advising people to steer clear from Alaska's Kodiak Island next weekend because the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) was likely to test-fire a missile at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska.
During the operation, the THAAD missile’s ability to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile within the earth's atmosphere would be put into test, said Leah Garton, with the MDA’s public affairs.
US Army Soldiers were temporarily stationed at the test site to assist the process, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.
Earlier this month the MDA announced that it had successfully completed a Flight Test THAAD-18 operation in Kodiak.
Chris Johnson, the MDA’s director of public affairs, said the test "validated THAAD's ability to intercept intermediate range ballistic missiles."
The two stage test, which marked THAAD’s 14 successful test, included the launch of "two interceptors from two co-located launchers," according to Johnson.
"The first missile engaged the target. The second interceptor was launched to test operational procedures," he told the Mirror.
The test is likely to escalate in the already heated standoff between Washington and Pyongyang over the latter’s development of missiles and nuclear deterrents.
The US has placed the advanced missile system to its bases in Guam and South Korea to counter missile threats from North Korea.
Earlier this month, the North successfully test-fired what the US insists was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with an estimated range of 5,500 kilometers and capable of hitting Alaska.
Unsettled by Pyongyang’s military programs, the administration of US President Donald Trump has adopted a war-like posture, repeatedly warning the North of military action in case the tests continue.
The US Navy has sent a strike group to conduct joint military drills with North Korea’s regional adversaries Japan and South Korea off the peninsula’s coast.
In late June, the US military said it had failed to intercept a ballistic missile during a joint test with Japan off Hawaii.