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04 February 2018, 01:17 | Floyd Cook
US defence official suffered another setback during a recent missile defense test
The U.S. military also conducted an unsuccessful missile intercept test in June past year after carrying out a successful one the previous February.At present, Japan has a two-layer anti-ballistic missile system, consisting of Aegis destroyers carrying SM-3 missiles and ground-based PAC-3 batteries.
The test was carried out on Wednesday at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.
The missile is expected to be deployed to Poland by the end of the year for use in an Aegis Ashore site for the protection of Europe from Iranian missiles.
The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile was launched from Hawaii on Wednesday, but failed to intercept its target, according to an anonymous United States official. The missile is used to target intermediate range missiles.
A similar test conducted in July ended in failure as well, though the Department of Defense reported that it was the result of human error, rather than an issue with the system.
The minister noted the latest test had focused on coordination between the missile, radar and missile system, adding that the United States authorities were now looking into the details of the experiment.
An SM-3 Block IIA failed to hit a dummy missile over the Pacific in a joint US-Japan test in June, but a test in February was successful.
The test comes at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
The Missile Defense Agency confirmed that a test had taken place, but did not comment on its outcome.
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According to Raytheon, the SM-3 Block IIA missile is being developed in cooperation with Japan.
Pyongyang has test-fired ballistic missiles on lofted trajectories into the sea around Japan multiple times, and officials said it would be very hard for Japan's current anti-missile defense systems to shoot them down if they were to threaten the country's territory.
CNN claimed the failed test occurred on Wednesday - but the Pentagon refused to confirm the report due to the Trump administration's increasingly sensitive stand-off with Kim Jong-un's regime.
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