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Nike Zeus Defense Missile Passes Test

July 19, 1962 - The Army’s Nike Zeus defense missile intercepted the nose cone of an Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile today high over Kwajalein Island in the Pacific. It marked the first time that an intercontinental missile had been intercepted by a U.S. antimissile missile. A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. had no knowledge of a similar Soviet missile feat. Officials, while encouraged, remained unconvinced of the effectiveness of the Army’s controversial missile. It had been expected that the Nike Zeus could intercept a missile warhead under the controlled conditions of today’s experiment. The doubt among Pentagon policy makers is whether the missile system would be equally effective in contending with the large number of missiles involved in a thermonuclear attack.

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