Pentagon Confirms Failure of Missile Defense Test off Kauai

North Korea missile laucnh

It had been hoped that the SM-3 Block IIA missile, which is the brainchild of U.S. and Japanese weapons manufacturers, could provide an effective defence against North Korea's increasingly sophisticated intercontinental ballistics capabilities.

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

MDA systems have multiple layers and ranges and use sensors in space, at sea and on land that altogether form a defense for different USA regions and territories.

The Missile Defence Agency did not comment on the outcome of the test, but confirmed one had taken place.

It is unclear why the test failed and an analysis is under way, the official said.

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The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile was launched from Hawaii on Wednesday, but failed to intercept its target, according to an anonymous U.S. official.

"The Missile Defence Agency and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defence 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", DoD spokesman Mark Wright told CNN.

The test comes at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The missile, which is being developed by Raytheon Co, is used to target intermediate range missiles and is being developed with Japan.

The SM-3 Block IIA is an improved version of the SM-3 missile. It is a key element in the United States' defense against the intercontinental ballistic missiles that North Korea has threatened to launch against the nation. Domestic officials say it is created to be capable of intercepting a ballistic missile flying on a "lofted trajectory", which falls toward a target at much higher speed than those fired on a normal trajectory. That caused the missile to self-destruct according to a report in Defense News.

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