U.S. missile interceptor test fails in Hawaii (again)

The first failure was blamed on human error

Matt Saintsing
February 01, 2018 - 1:52 pm

U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Dalton Williams

A missile failed to intercept an incoming target in the skies above Hawaii on Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.

The flop represents the second failure of an SM-3 Block IIA test, after an interceptor in June failed to hit its intended target.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon Thursday, Dana White, the department’s top spokesperson said the test “did not meet our objectives, but we learn something all the time from these tests and we learned something about this one.”

“And, we’ll continue to improve our capabilities.”

The failed test was first reported by CNN Wednesday.

The SM-3 Block IIA can be deployed from land, or from ships at sea, as part of the joint U.S.-Japan Aegis Ashore Missile Defense system, a program designed to counter missiles from North Korea and other potential adversaries.

The first failure was blamed on human error after a sailor wrongly identified the intended target as “friendly,” causing the interceptor to self-destruct.

The latest missile letdown comes just weeks after a Hawaii state Emergency Management Agency employee mistakenly sent an alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack. The false warning, which comes amid continued escalating tensions with North Korea, set off a panic on the archipelago.

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile in November that flew higher, and longer, than any previously launched. Experts said that missile had the potential to reach a target 8,000 miles away, putting Washington, DC or any other major city in the U.S. in their crosshairs.