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SM-3 interceptor fails to hit target in missile defense test

SM-3 interceptor fails to hit target in missile defense test

SM-3 interceptor fails to hit target in missile defense test

Feb. 1 (UPI) — The United States was unsuccessful in a missile defense test in Kauai, Hawaii, on Wednesday, as a Standard Missile-3 interceptor reportedly failed to hit a target launched from an aircraft.

Testing on the SM-3 Interceptor is a joint effort between the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy, Japan and Raytheon, which manufactures the munition.

MDA spokesman Mark Wright told The New York Times that “a live-fire missile flight test” had occurred from Kauai, but did not confirm that the test had failed.

Wednesday’s test would be the second failure during the last year, following the failure of another SM-3 Block IIA to hit its target last June.

The new version of the missile, which is capable of traveling farther and has improved target tracking systems, is seen as a needed defense against adversaries such as North Korea with their development of ballistic missiles that have a range of more than 8,000 miles.

The Block IIA is launched and guided by the Lockheed Martin-produced Aegis Ashore Weapon System.

Image courtesy of Raytheon

Japan and the United States have been collaborating on the Block IIA’s development, with the goal of integrating the missile into land-based defense systems. The upgraded missile has a larger rocket motor and a larger kinetic warhead that is supposed to aid in it’s search for incoming threats.

Pentagon officials told CNN they have been tight-lipped on the matter due to current tensions between the United States and North Korea and the upcoming Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.