A US warship shot down a medium-range ballistic missile in a test off Hawaii on Wednesday in what officials said was a complex missile defence test.
The development comes soon after North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un vowed to forge ahead with more missile tests in the Pacific.
The USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai before intercepting it with SM-6 missiles, the US Missile Defense Agency said.
The Standard Missile-6, one of the US Navy's most advanced missile interceptors, intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea in its final seconds of flight, after being fired from the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, according to statement by the a Raytheon company which makes the missiles.
The principal objective of the launch was test to a new targeting software designed to enable the SM-6 to intercept a ballistic missile warhead descending from the upper atmosphere at extreme speed.
The interception comes after a previous failed test in June from the same guided missile destroyer, Fox News reported.
''We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase,'' MDA director Lt Gen Sam Greaves said in a statement.
''We will continue developing ballistic missile defence technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves,'' he added.
The ship detected and tracked the target missile ''with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar,'' the statement read.
The test comes after the Hermit Kingdom fired a ballistic missile from its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japanese territory before plunging into the northern Pacific Ocean on Tuesday (See: Missile over Japan is just the start, North Korea warns).
The provocative test flight over the territory of a close US ally sent a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.
President Trump offered a more tepid response Tuesday, pulling back from his administration's recent suggestions of a dialogue with the rogue regime - and also avoiding a repeat of his apocalyptic warnings of unleashing ''fire and fury''.
Instead, he declared that ''all options are on the table.''
Meanwhile, North Korea on Wednesday released images of its intermediate-range ballistic missile launch over Japan a day earlier.
The Hwasong-12 - the first missile the nation has fired over Japan - was ''guided'' by Kim, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
''Involved in the drill were Hwasong artillery units … tasked with striking the bases of the US imperialist aggressor forces located in the Pacific operational theater,'' KCNA reported, according to USA Today.
In the images, the diminutive despot is seen in a dark suit studying a map with a computer screen in the background showing the path of the missile, the Telegraph of the UK reported. A pair of binoculars, which he apparently used to watch the missile being fired from Pyongyang's airport, are seen on the table to the side of him.
Another photo shows a beaming Kim sitting at a table with a map while surrounded by officials and officers.
The United Nations has condemned North Korea's ''outrageous'' firing of a missile over Japan, demanding that the isolated country cease its weapons programme, but held back on any threat of new sanctions.