Test of Hawaii's Missile Interceptor Was a Flop

Violet Powell
February 4, 2018

The primary objective of the test, to intercept an air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile target with an SM-3 Block IIA missile, was not achieved.

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

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense component of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System is being developed in cooperation with Japan and is to be deployed on land as well as aboard ships.

It was still unclear what caused the projectile to miss its target, but authorities are already doing an analysis on the failed missile defense test.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said an SM-3 Block IIA missile was launched from an Aegis Ashore test site in Hawaii, but failed to hit another missile launched from an aircraft. This marks the second failure of the Aegis missile defense system in the past year, coinciding with the growing threat of ballistic missile attack from North Korea.

Earlier on Wednesday, Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said the company had met "our commitment to the Missile Defense Agency to have 44 ground-based interceptors in place by the end of 2017".

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The US military unsuccessfully tested the American missile defense system Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex. The last failure happened in July of past year, and was blamed on a sailor accidentally entering data that identified the target as a friendly, causing the missile to self-destruct. The SM-3 IIA will have to be tested again at Kauai before that happens.

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

It comes amid renewed fears over the nuclear ambitions of Mr Kim, who earlier this week ordered the test of a new long-range missile said to be capable of striking the entire United States mainland.

In his first State of the Union speech to the US 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 months Winter Olympic Games hosted by Seoul.

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