Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

A Japanese warship failed to shoot down a ballistic missile target in a joint test with U.S. forces Wednesday because of a glitch in the final stage of an interceptor made by Raytheon Co, a U.S. military official said.

The kinetic warhead’s infrared “seeker” lost track in the last few seconds of the $55 million test, about 100 miles above Hawaiian waters, said U.S. Rear Admiral Brad Hicks, program director of the Aegis sea-based leg of an emerging U.S. anti-missile shield.

By Jim Wolf, Reuters

A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ... 
A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Chokai in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii November 20, 2008.(Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Handout/Reuters)

“This was a failure,” he said in a teleconference with reporters. It brought the tally of Aegis intercepts to 16 in 20 tries.

The problem “hopefully was related just to a single interceptor,” not to a systemic issue with the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A, the same missile used in February to blow apart a crippled U.S. spy satellite, Hicks said.

Military officials from both countries said in a joint statement there was no immediate explanation for the botched intercept of a medium-range missile mimicking a potential North Korean threat. The test was paid for by Japan, Hicks said.

John Patterson, a spokesman at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, said the company would not comment pending the results of an engineering analysis of what may have gone wrong.
The test involved the Chokai, the second Japanese Kongo-class ship to be outfitted by the United States for missile defense, and a dummy missile fired from a range on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.


Above: Chokai

North Korea‘s test-firing of a ballistic missile over Japan in August 1998 spurred Tokyo to become the most active U.S. ally in building a layered shield against missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081120/wl_nm/us_japan_usa_mis
sile;_ylt=AtR6dVwzdhOKirAsXFcgsFSs0NUE

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