SM-3 Block IIA Missile Test Fails

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On January 31, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency conducted an unsuccessful SM-3 Block IIA intercept test from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. According to the MDA testing schedule, the test was likely intended to demonstrate an Aegis Ashore launch-on-remote intercept using a TPY-2 radar. This marks the missile’s second unsuccessful test intercept in three attempts. The SM-3 Block IIA successfully intercepted a ballistic missile target in February 2017. A following test in June failed after a sailor mistakenly triggered the missile’s self-destruct mechanism. U.S. missile defense officials have acknowledged the Jan. 31 test, but have not yet released a statement on the failure, reportedly because of “sensitivities surrounding North Korea”. The SM-3 Block IIA, which is designed to intercept medium- and intermediate-range missiles, is still in development.