According to the US Missile Defense Agency, USS John Paul Jones detected, tracked and took out the target ballistic missile using its onboard Aegis Missile Defense System and a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor. The successful test took place on Friday night off the Hawaiian coast of Kauai.
The test came as a priority after North Korea tested short and intermediate range missiles last year. America is worried that North Korea could be developing a long-range missile capable of carrying a warhead as far as the US west coast.
The test came as newly appointed US Defense Secretary John Mattis was on his first official trip abroad to South Korea and Japan. One of the focus of Mattis' trip was the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense(THAAD) that the US plans on installing in South Korea later on this year.
The THAAD system has provoked sharp criticism from China who claim the US is planning to extend its military alliance network from Japan, all the way to the South China Sea.
Mattis stepped in to allay China's concerns, saying that the only country that should be wary of THAAD was North Korea.
The Aegis system is developed to intercept missiles when they are in the middle of their flight about the time the missile is at its highest point above the Earth.