US Missile Defense System Fails Latest Test

Raytheon's SM-3 Block IIA is developed and manufactured at Redstone Arsenal

Raytheon's SM-3 Block IIA is developed and manufactured at Redstone Arsenal

Within the U.S. Department of Defense the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is charged with the mission to develop, test and field a ballistic missile defense system.

The weapon is created to be used in the USA missile defense system, including in the facilities that are planned to be deployed in Japan, in order to intercept a possible intercontinental missile launched by Pyongyang.

The Missile Defense Agency confirmed the outcome Thursday, after the interceptor failed to hit its target. "It is a very expensive system and it would be undesirable for the credibility of the missile to be hurt", the source said.

A similar test conducted in July ended in failure as well, though the Department of Defense reported that it was the result of human error, rather than an issue with the system.

The United States did successfully intercept a medium-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii in an August 2017 test.

The SM-3 Block IIB is developed jointly by the United States and Japan.

The Missile Defence Agency is considering several locations to install a new Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (THAAD) interceptor system similar to the one which protects South Korea against a potential attack from the North, according to congressmen Mike Rogers and Adam Smith.

But that wasn't the case after the $30 million SM-3 Block IIA missile did not intercept an intermediate-range ballistic missile target in its first-ever launch from Kauai's Aegis Ashore facility.

CNN, which was was the first to report the failed intercept, said officials made a decision to initially remain silent due in part to "sensitivities surrounding North Korea's participation in the upcoming Olympic Games and continuing tensions with leader Kim Jong Un".

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Branding North Korea's leadership as "depraved", U.S. President Donald Trump told Americans on Tuesday that Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear missiles could "very soon threaten our homeland" and vowed a continued campaign of maximum pressure to keep that from happening.

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