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Test of new U.S. interceptor missile results in failure

RIA Novosti

03:06 02/09/2011 WASHINGTON, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - A modernized version of the SM-3 missile has failed to intercept a ballistic missile target during a test over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.

A Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block 1B interceptor missile was launched on Monday from the cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70) to intercept a short-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai.

"This was the first flight test of the advanced SM-3 Block 1B interceptor missile," the agency said in a statement. "Program officials will conduct an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the failure to intercept."

According to the statement, the MDA has conducted 22 successful intercepts in 27 at-sea test launches of interceptor missiles under Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System flight testing program since 2002.

The SM-3 missile is expected to become a key part of the Obama administration's European Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) for defending the continent against ballistic missile attacks.

The missile is equipped with a kinetic warhead which does not carry any high explosive.

Hit-to-Kill technology relies on the kinetic energy released in a high-speed collision between the warhead and the target. The energy from the impact is equivalent to the force released when a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph hits a wall.

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