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US Missile Intercept Test Failed: What Went Wrong?

US Missile Intercept Test Failed: What Went Wrong?

The Missile Defense Agency put out a statement after the test that said only: "The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex conducted a live-fire missile flight test using a Standard-Missile (SM)-3 Block IIA missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, Wednesday morning".

The official was not authorized to discuss the outcome and spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to a USA government official from the Department of Defense, an interceptor missile missed its designated target in a test in the coast of Hawaii on Wednesday.

Boeing Co was awarded a $6.56 billion US defense contract for development and sustainment of an enlarged ground-based midcourse anti-ballistic missile defense system, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Raytheon is developing the missile as part of a joint project between the USA and Japan, which plans to install two of the systems on its mainland in order to defend against threats from North Korea's nuclear and missile program.

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The Pentagon is not publicly acknowledging the failure of a key ballistic missile defense test due to the sensitivity surrounding North Korea's participation in the upcoming Olympic Games.

It is unclear why the test failed and an analysis is under way, the official said.

The missile, which is being developed by weapons manufacturer Raytheon, is used to target intermediate range missiles. This is the fifth test of the missile in general, and the third one in which it attempted to intercept another missile. In June, a test was also conducted, and that also failed. The SM-3 IIA will have to be tested again at Kauai before that happens.

The other two elements of this missile launch safety net include the powerful radar-based THAAD system recently deployed in South Korea to the chagrin of the Chinese, and America's troubled GMD missile defense system here in the United States.

The reported failure comes as tensions with North Korea are high, and as Japan plans to buy the system for its own defence.


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