Pentagon Admits Missile Defense Test Failure

Mike O'Brien

America’s missile defense system failed in a test over the Pacific on Friday.

The Pentagon admitted on Sunday that an interceptor failed to hit an incoming ballistic missile.

The test involved having an interceptor, which was launched from Vandenberg air base in California, knock out a long-range ballistic missile fired from a US military test site at Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner said in a brief statement: "An intercept was not achieved.

"Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which may have prevented a successful intercept."

The anti-missile weapon has been dogged by repeated technical problems, with tests delayed after two failures in 2010.

The failure was yet another setback for the costly ground-based interceptors. The United States has 30 of them in Alaska and California, at a cost of $34 billion.

They are supposed to counter the potential threat posed by North Korea, which is trying to develop long-range ballistic missiles.

To counter the growing threat from the increasingly aggressive communist country, the Pentagon wants to add 14 more ground-based interceptors to bases in Alaska, costing an extra $1 billion.

Some lawmakers are also calling for the opening of a new missile defense site on America’s East Coast, in case Iran gets hold of long-range missiles.

Critics of the missile defense program argue that the system faces insurmountable technical hurdles.

What are your thoughts on the U.S. air missile defense system? Should America carry on with the program? Leave a comment below.