February 13, 2016 / 8:16 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. regains Hellfire air-to-ground missile from Cuba

WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Saturday that the United States has regained an inert but errant Hellfire air-to-ground missile that had mistakenly ended up in Cuba.

“We can say, without speaking to specifics, that the inert training missile has been returned with the cooperation of the Cuban government,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

A team from Lockheed Martin Corp, which makes the missile, traveled to Cuba to retrieve it, a congressional source said.

Lockheed Martin Corp spokesman Bill Phelps declined comment.

The missile had been sent to Europe for a training exercise in 2014 but somehow ended up in Cuba, an embarrassing loss of military technology, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

“The department is restricted under federal law and regulations from commenting on specific defense trade licensing cases and compliance matters, so we cannot provide further details,” Toner said.

But he said reestablished diplomatic relations between the two countries have helped the U.S. “engage with the Cuban government on issues of mutual interest.”

The Cuban government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Lesley Wroughton, Andrea Shalal, Daniel Trotta; Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by W Simon

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