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US missile defence test fails: Pentagon

Last Updated: Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 13:43

Washington: America`s missile defence system failed on Saturday in a test over the Pacific, with an interceptor failing to hit an incoming ballistic missile, the Pentagon said.

The miss represented yet another setback for the costly ground-based interceptors, which have not had a successful test result since 2008.

The test`s objective was to have an interceptor, launched from Vandenberg air base in California, knock out a long-range ballistic missile fired from a US military test site at Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands.
But "an intercept was not achieved," US Missile Defence Agency spokesman Richard Lehner said in a brief statement.

"Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which may have prevented a successful intercept," it said.

The anti-missile weapon has run into repeated technical problems, with tests delayed after two failures in 2010.

The United States has 30 of the ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, at a cost of about $34 billion. They are supposed to counter the potential threat posed by North Korea, which has tried to develop long-range ballistic missiles.

The Pentagon wants to deploy an additional 14 ground-based interceptors to bases in Alaska, at a cost of about $1 billion, also in response to what Washington deems a growing threat from North Korea.
Some lawmakers also are pushing to open a new missile defence site on the country`s East Coast, in case Iran or other adversaries obtain long-range missiles.

Critics of the missile defence program are sure to seize on the test result as further proof that the system faces insurmountable technical hurdles.


First Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 13:43

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