United States anti-missile test fails in Hawaii

"The Missile Defense Agency and US Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) 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", Lt Col Michelle Baldanza said in an email to The Independent.

The Raytheon missile is being developed in conjunction with Japanese counterparts as the threat of a North Korean missile strike hangs overhead.

The official said it was still unclear why the test failed, adding that a full analysis of the experiment is still underway. The missile is used to target intermediate range missiles.

The SM-3 Block IIA can be employed on Aegis-equipped destroyers as well as with the Aegis Ashore system that Japan decided in December to deploy.

The report from the internal investigation and a report from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission earlier in the day revealed that the worker who pushed out the alert thought an actual attack was imminent.

The SM-3 Block IIA is an improved version of the SM-3 missile.

A spokesperson at the Defense Department told International Business Times they had no comment on the matter.

Pentagon officials told CNN that they are staying silent on the test results in part because of the tenuous situation of North Korea participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.

It is the second test confirmed to have failed since rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea prompted the regime's leader Kim Jong Un to threaten using a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile against the USA mainland.

The secretive state, led by Kim Jong-un, have vowed to strike at the U.S. if they feel under threat. "It is a very expensive system and it would undesirable for the credibility of the missile to be hurt", the source said.

Founder of the non-profit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, Riki Ellison says missile defense test failures come with the territory when it comes to testing new technology.

  • Jon Douglas