Boeing missile defense system fails

LOS ANGELES — The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency once again missed hitting its desired target during flight test of an interceptor missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara.

The failure of the $214 million test Friday involved a ground-based defense system, designed by Boeing Co., to defend the U.S. from long-range ballistic missile attacks.

The Missile Defense Agency now has a testing record of eight hits out of 16 intercept attempts with the “hit-to-kill” warheads. The last successful intercept occurred in December 2008.

Intercept testing of the system was halted in early 2011 after errors resulted in two failed intercept tests in 2010 using a newer interceptor. The technology wasn’t used Friday, but will be tested next year.

During the test, a target missile was fired at 11:30 a.m. PDT from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Five minutes later, a three-stage interceptor was launched from a silo at Vandenberg.

After blastoff, the booster is designed to deploy a kill vehicle made by Raytheon Co. to hit the target at a designated point in space.

The kill vehicle is designed to lock on and eliminate high-speed ballistic missile warheads in space using nothing more than the sheer force of impact, known as a “hit-to-kill” defense, according to Raytheon.

The Missile Defense Agency did not yet know the cause of test failure. The agency said it is reviewing what occurred during the entire course of the test.

It’s a significant blow for the ground-based system of 30 interceptors in Alaska and California, which the Government Accountability Office estimated would cost taxpayers $40 billion from 1996 to 2017.

Despite the poor track record, the Pentagon plans to add 14 missile interceptors in Alaska to counter North Korea, which has issued threats since it tested an underground nuclear device and launched a small satellite. The Pentagon expects cost of the expansion to be $1 billion.

More in Local News

Army nurse from Everett has vivid memories of ‘forgotten war’

Barbara Jean Nichols, 95, served near the front lines in Korea and Vietnam, and in Germany.

In county overdose crisis, nasal spray has saved 100 lives

About 900 local law enforcement officers have been trained to use naloxone to revive opioid users.

Second former student files abuse claim against teacher

The woman says Cascade High School’s Craig Verver had sexual contact with her on campus.

Man arrested after allegedly threatening people near EvCC

The community college was briefly on lockdown Thursday morning.

Edmonds to add bike lanes in two areas

Crews will begin the first phase of work Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Woman injured after losing control of her pickup

A 50-year-old woman was injured Tuesday after her pickup lost… Continue reading

Front Porch

EVENTS Sk8 Fest returns to Arlington The Centennial Sk8 Festival celebrating longboards… Continue reading

Serial killer wannabe admits trying to kill man she met online

She told police she planned to rip out her victim’s heart and eat it — and would continue killing.

Most Read