U.S. tests missile defence shield

The U.S. has successfully conducted an anti-missile defence system test in the Pacific. A long-range interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California shot down a missile with a dummy warhead fired from Kodiak, Alaska.

U.S. military officials say the system is built to intercept long-range missiles that could be fired by North Korea or Iran.

A lot is riding on the success of these tests for the Pentagon, as it has to prove the system's reliability in order to maintain the allotted budget from the government. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the test is seen as a crucial step towards an anti-missile shield that Washington plans to base in Eastern Europe.

Friday’s interception was the eighth success out of 13 tests conducted since 1999.

The U.S. wants to put a radar facility in the Czech Republic and install ten interceptor missiles in Poland by 2014.

Moscow is strongly opposed to the plans, saying that the U.S. shield is a threat to its national security and would undermine the military balance in Europe.