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US warship destroys missile shot into space during navy war games

The Terrier Orion rocket was destroyed by a missile fired by the USS Ross near the Hebrides Range.

Missile test launch from USS Ross off South Uist image from US Navy video footage public domain uploaded October 23 2015

A US warship has shot down a missile fired into space in a UK first during an operation in the Western Isles.

The Terrier Orion rocket was destroyed by a missile launched from the USS Ross near the Hebrides Range on South Uist.

It was the first time a rocket has been launched into space from Britain and the first time the American Navy has carried out missile defence operations overseas.

In a separate exercise, two anti-ship rockets were fired at the USS Ross and another American ship, USS The Sullivans, blew up the missiles.

Eight other nations were also involved including the UK, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway.

The exercises were carried out to test how well the countries communicate and cooperate in the heat of battle.

Admiral Mark Ferguson, commander of US Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, said: "We successfully conducted the simultaneous engagement of a ballistic missile in space and an anti-ship cruise missile target, the first demonstration of this capability in the European theater.

"The execution of the live-fire exercise is a clear demonstration of our ability to safely conduct effective coalition sea-based defense against simultaneous anti-ship and ballistic missile threats within an operational scenario."

The Hebrides range was established in the 1950s and is now operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MoD.

A targeting drone from the range washed up on the beach at Baleshare on North Uist on Thursday.

A QinetiQ spokesman said: "The object pictured is a Mirach aerial target, used within the Hebrides Range during firing exercises.

"They are usually retrieved from the sea, but do occasionally wash up on the shore due to factors such as rough weather. While the Mirach doesn't pose a danger to the public, it's never advisable to approach an object you cannot identify."

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