Test paves way for U.S. to buy more missile defense interceptors

WASHINGTON, June 24 Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:03pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) - Sunday's successful intercept test of the U.S. missile defense system will allow the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency to buy 14 more ground-based interceptors as planned, the Defense Department's top financial official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said the fact that the Boeing Co-run system hit and destroyed a dummy missile during a critical test on Sunday was good news, but further tests were needed to improve confidence in the system, the sole U.S. defense against long-range ballistic missiles.

"It certainly paves the way," Hale said in an interview at his Pentagon office. "If we had had continued failures, we would have had to rethink. But I think our plan now remains to buy the original 14 interceptors."

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Eric Beech)