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US conducts complex missile tests in Pacific

The US military says its missile systems have successfully passed a slew of complex tests, despite missing a target.

The $230 million test was carried out Sunday, near the Wake Island in the western Pacific Ocean and aimed at identifying and targeting ballistic and cruise missiles at once, according to Reuters.

It involved Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) on-board the USS John Paul Jones destroyer.

During the test, a THAAD system based on Wake Island reportedly detected and destroyed a target that was launched by a C-17 transport plane and simulated a short-range ballistic missile.

At the same time, the THAAD system and the destroyer both engaged a medium range ballistic missile, launched by another C-17 aircraft.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missile is launched from Meck Island to intercept a ballistic missile target, Oct. 24, 2012.

 

The test did not go as smooth this time, as the SM-3 missile fired by the warship failed early in its flight and missed the target. However, the THAAD, which was now practically the last line of defense, was able to take it out.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said it was investigating the failure.

The Aegis destroyer then successfully engaged a BQM-74E target, using a Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA guided missile.

“This was a highly complex operational test of the BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense System) which required all elements to work together in an integrated layered defense design to detect, track, discriminate, engage, and negate the ballistic missile threats,” the MDA said in a statement.

Units from the US Missile Defense Agency, US European Command, US Pacific Command, the Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency and the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense were in charge of conducting the tests.

The US, under President Barack Obama, has been deploying missile systems in Europe since 2009 as part of the European missile program, which is strongly opposed by Russia.

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