U.S. Missile Defense Test Fails Amid Tensions With North Korea

The missile was launched from a test site in Hawaii, but failed to hit another missile launched from an aircraft

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gives opening remarks at the 5th Conference of Cell Chairpersons of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang on December 22, 2017.

The U.S. military carried out an unsuccessful test to shoot down an incoming dummy missile from Hawaii on Wednesday, a U.S. official said, amid heightened concerns about North Korea's developing missile and nuclear program. 

The official, speaking on the condition, said a SM-3 Block IIA missile was launched from an Aegis Ashore test site in Hawaii, but failed to hit another missile launched from an aircraft. 

The missile, which is being developed by Raytheon Co., is used to target intermediate range missiles and is being developed with Japan. The Missile Defense Agency did not comment on the outcome of the test, but confirmed that one had taken place. 

"The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex conducted a live-fire missile flight test using a Standard-Missile (SM)-3 Block IIA missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, Wednesday morning," Mark Wright, a spokesman for the agency, said. 

An intercept test for the missile last June also failed, but there was a successful test in early 2017.

The last year has seen ramped-up North Korean missile launches, some of them over Japanese territory, and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. These actions have prompted a stepped-up U.S.-led campaign to toughen UN sanctions, which Pyongyang has called an act of war.