US missile test fails over Pacific

A sole US test against long-range ballistic missiles failed, the second failure in a row involving the system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said.

US missile test fails over Pacific

A sole US test against long-range ballistic missiles failed on Wednesday, the second failure in a row involving the system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said.

"The Missile Defense Agency was unable to achieve a planned intercept of a ballistic missile target during a test over the Pacific Ocean today," Richard Lehner, an agency spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

No preliminary explanation of the failure was provided.

The miss brought the so-called ground-based midcourse defense's batting record to eight intercepts out of 15 tries, as reckoned by the Missile Defense Agency.

"This is a tremendous setback for the testing of this complicated system," Riki Ellison, head of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a booster group, said in a statement. He said it raised troubling questions about the reliability of the 30 or so interceptor missiles deployed in silos in Alaska and California.

The test was a repeat of a Jan. 31 exercise in which an advanced sea-based radar had not performed as expected.

In the test on Wednesday, an intermediate-range ballistic missile target flew successfully from a test site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, as did a long-range interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the agency said.

The sea-based X-Band radar and all sensors performed as planned, and the interceptor successfully deployed a "kill vehicle" designed to collide with the target, the statement said.

It said officials will conduct an extensive investigation to pin down the cause of the failure to intercept. The next flight test will be determined after the failure's cause is identified, it added.

A Boeing spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a reqeust for comment.

Reuters

Last Mod: 16 Aralık 2010, 16:42
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