US missile defence test fails in Hawaii with 'military unable to shoot down incoming target'

Test comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Wednesday 31 January 2018 22:28 GMT
Donald Trump at the State of the Union: North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland

A test of America’s missile defence systems in Hawaii has reportedly failed to shoot down its target, against the backdrop of heightened tensions with North Korea.

An exercise conducted by the Missile Defence Agency was unsuccessful, with the military unable to shoot down an incoming missile launched from an aircraft, multiple outlets reported.

A Department of Defence representative confirmed a drill had taken place without responding to questions about whether it had accomplished its objectives.

“The Missile Defense Agency and US Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense 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,” Lt Col Michelle Baldanza said in an email to The Independent.

North Korean aggression has raised the stakes for America’s ability to repel missile attacks, with the isolated regime launching a series of ballistic missile tests and claiming it has the ability to strike anywhere on the US mainland.

A test in May successfully intercepted and destroyed a medium-range missile, the Pentagon said at the time, the first live-fire test of defending against an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Unnamed officials said that they were avoiding commenting publicly on the more recent, failed test because of tensions with North Korea, according to CNN.

Earlier this month an erroneous alert of an incoming missile briefly threw Hawaii into a panic.

An employee who triggered the false alarm has been fired and the head of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has resigned as a result.

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