Key U.S. missile interceptor test fails, Pentagon says

WASHINGTON Fri Jul 5, 2013 9:18pm EDT

Conceptual Interceptor Receiving Facility (IRF) at the Missile Assembly Building (MAB)is pictured July 17, 2007, at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the United States is testing the missile defence shield. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Conceptual Interceptor Receiving Facility (IRF) at the Missile Assembly Building (MAB)is pictured July 17, 2007, at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the United States is testing the missile defence shield.

Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A test of the only U.S. defense against long-range ballistic missiles failed on Friday, the third consecutive failure involving the interceptor system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said.

"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 in a statement.

The military has tested the so-called ground-based midcourse defense system 16 times. It has succeeded eight times, with the last intercept in December 2008.

The Pentagon said this week that the test would not affect its decision to bolster the U.S. missile defense system. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the move in March following threats by North Korea.

Under that plan, the Pentagon will add 14 new anti-missile interceptors at a total cost of nearly $1 billion.

The United States currently has 26 interceptors deployed at Fort Greely in Alaska and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

In Friday's test, a long-range ballistic missile target was launched from the U.S. Army's Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. The interceptor missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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Comments (5)
DevKev wrote:
Sure that’s reassuring to know…look other nations our defenses don’t work isn’t that just wonderful!

Jul 05, 2013 9:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Sonorama wrote:
Funny how ‘we the people’ are now going to pay a billion more dollars for a system that might not even work if the need ever arises for long-range missile interception.

Jul 05, 2013 10:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SuziS wrote:
I don’t mind chipping in for defense of this country. I do mind the defense of muslim “rebel” (terrorists, more like) in some country far in the middle east. Trying to set up defenses, so we have to worry less about offensive positions sounds like a great idea.

Jul 06, 2013 9:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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