The United States has marked the first failure of its
ship-based missile defense system.
The Defense Department said a test of the Aegis missile defense system
in the Pacific Ocean failed to intercept the target missile. The Pentagon
said the SM-3 interceptor missed its target although its guidance system was
Several U.S. allies have been examining the Aegis system for their
missile defense programs, Middle East Newsline reported. The Aegis has been described as an alternative to
the ground-based PAC-3 system and is said to be capable of intercepting such
missiles as the North Korean No-Dong and Iran's Shihab-3 intermediate-range
A Pentagon statement said the Standard Missile-3, or SM-3, was fired
from the USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. EDT.
The SM-3 was
meant to intercept the Aries target missile launched from the Pacific
Missile Range Facility on Kauai.
"Preliminary indications are that the SM-3 interceptor missile deployed
its kinetic warhead, but an intercept was not achieved," the Pentagon
statement said. "The primary objective of this test was to evaluate the SM-3
kinetic warhead's guidance, navigation and control operation in space using
an upgraded solid divert and attitude control system."
Officials said this was the first failure of Aegis system. Three
previous tests had been deemed successful.
The Pentagon said government and industry officials will conduct an
extensive analysis of the flight test, and the results will be used to
improve the Aegis development and testing program.