WASHINGTON — A test shoot of the SM-3 Block IIA fired from an Aegis Ashore test site in Hawaii failed Wednesday, CNN has reported. The missile is designed to intercept ballistic missiles.
If confirmed, it would mark the second unsuccessful test of the Raytheon missile in the past year. It also deals a setback to U.S. missile defense efforts as North Korea makes seemingly daily progress on it goal of striking the U.S. mainland with nuclear-armed missiles.
When reached for comment, U.S. Missile Defense Agency spokesman Mark Wright declined to comment on the outcome of the test.
“The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. 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,” Wright said.
CNN was first to report the failed test.
Its important to note that a number of factors apart from the missile could be to blame for the failed test. The targeting and fire control radars, or the Navy’s AEGIS system could also have caused the failed test.
An SM-3 Block IIA test in June failed after a sailor on the destroyer John Paul Jones mistakenly triggered the missile’s self-destruct mechanism.
The missile successfully intercepted a ballistic missile target last February in a test launch. The missile is being developed by Raytheon and is a joint project between the U.S. and Japan, designed to counter rising missile threats from North Korea and elsewhere.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News. Before that, he reported for Navy Times.