USA missile defense test failed to intercept target

Casey Dawson
February 4, 2018

The worrying fail comes amid heightened concerns about North Korea's developing missile and nuclear weapons which could strike American Pacific islands as well as the United States mainland. One of the spokespersons for the Missile Defence Agency, Mark Wright, has issued a confirmation that the live missile flight test took place off the coast of Hawaii.

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

A SM-3 Block IIA missile, touted as a possible second layer of defense for Hawaii from North Korean threats, failed in a flight from Kauai's Aegis Ashore facility Wednesday when it did not intercept a target representing an intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Pentagon confirmed today.

In a test of the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor conducted last July, a sailor responsible for maintaining encrypted data exchanges between ships and aircraft mistakenly identified the incoming target as a friendly aircraft.

A missile interceptor failed to hit its target in a test conducted over Hawaii on Wednesday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency says.

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The SM-3 Block IIA is an improved version of the SM-3 missile. The last failure happened in July of a year ago, and was blamed on a sailor accidentally entering data that identified the target as a friendly, causing the missile to self-destruct. That caused the missile to self-destruct according to a report in Defense News.

Japan is planning to buy the Aegis Ashore land based system to boost its own defenses against North Korea.

CNN, which was was the first to report the failed intercept, said officials made a decision to initially remain silent due in part to "sensitivities surrounding North Korea's participation in the upcoming Olympic Games and continuing tensions with leader Kim Jong Un".

In his first State of the Union speech to Congress, Trump's tough rhetoric underscored persistent tensions despite recent talks between North and South Korea that led to Pyongyang's agreement to participate in next month's Winter Olympic Games in the South.

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