Intercept attempt fails in missile defense test off Hawaii

An SM-3 Block 1B interceptor, launched from the USS Lake Erie during a test, successfully intercepted a complex short-range ballistic missile target off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, Sept. 18, 2013.


By AUDREY MCAVOY | Associated Press | Published: June 23, 2017

HONOLULU — The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said it failed to intercept a ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii.

The failure came during a test conducted with Japan's Defense Ministry late Wednesday.

The U.S. and Japan are jointly developing the interceptor to shoot down medium-range ballistic missiles. The allies have been investing in technology to counter North Korean missile threats.

As part of the test, a medium-range target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai late Wednesday. The USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked the missile. The ship launched the interceptor, but it failed to shoot down the target.

This was the second time the U.S. military has attempted an intercept with the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA. The previous attempt in February was successful.

SM-3 interceptors work with the agency's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, which is the naval component of the nation's ballistic missile defenses. U.S. and Japanese navy ships are already equipped with earlier versions of the SM-3 interceptor and Aegis technology to track ballistic missiles.

The military has been developing separate technology to fire interceptors from land, called Ground-based Mid-Course Defense. It currently has interceptors for this system in Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

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