USA missile defense test reportedly fails off Kauai

The SM-3 Block IIA, which can be deployed from land or ships as part of the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense system, is a joint US-Japan project created to counter any missiles from North Korea or other countries in the region.

The agency, which manages USA missile defense systems, issued a statement saying the interceptor was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii.

The state official who resigned, Vern Miyagi, oversaw Hawaii's efforts to prepare its alert system over the past year as North Korea undertook missile tests that suggested the nation could strike the U.S. "North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland", Trump said during the speech.

Unnamed officials said that they were avoiding commenting publicly on the more recent, failed test because of tensions with North Korea, according to CNN.

Failures are not uncommon given the difficulty of intercepting missiles in mid-air. Officials say this wasn't the first time a mistake like this happened.

The launch was part of the Navy's Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex.

The official said test data is being analysed to determine why the interceptor did not hit the target.

The erroneous message came amid tensions with North Korea, which has tested rockets powerful enough to reach the United States, though it is unclear whether they are yet able to deliver nuclear payloads.

State and federal inquiries into the January 13 incident - in which the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency broadcast a missile-attack warning on residents' phones, televisions and radios - concluded that the employee did not accidentally click a wrong button on a confusing computer menu, as officials originally said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, whose government was branded as "depraved" by President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address.

The missile, which is being developed by weapons manufacturer Raytheon, is used to target intermediate range missiles.

  • Eleanor Harrison