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US missile interceptor test fails

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A file photo of Standard Missile 3 test launch.

HAWAII (BNS): An advanced sea-based missile interceptor test conducted by the US Missile Defense Agency has failed to hit the designated target.

The missile defence test, involving the Raytheon-made Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block 1B missile interceptor conducted on Thursday, was to hit a short-range ballistic missile.

The target ballistic missile was launched from US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii at 1353 GMT.

Approximately 90 seconds later, the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block 1B interceptor missile was launched from the cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70) but “an intercept of the target was not achieved,” the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.

Thursday’s test was the first flight test of the advanced SM-3 Block 1B interceptor missile which is an upgraded variant of the SM-3 1A interceptor presently deployed on US Navy warships.

Programme officials will conduct an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the failure to intercept, the agency said.

The Standard Missile 3 is a ship-based missile system used by the US Navy to intercept hostile missiles, aircraft and ships as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

According to the MDA, there have been 22 successful intercepts in 27 at-sea attempts since Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense flight testing began in 2002, including the successful intercept of a malfunctioning US satellite by a specially-modified SM-3 Block 1A missile in February, 2008.

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