US missile defense test reportedly fails

The unsuccessful test was carried out amid heightened concerns about North Korea’s developing missile and nuclear programme

A secret US military test to shoot down an incoming missile has failed, according to reports.

The failure highlighted concerns regarding the threat posed by North Korea which claims its missiles can hit the US mainland.

The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile was launched from Hawaii on Wednesday, but failed to intercept its target, according to an anonymous US official.

The official said those involved in the launch, including developer Raytheon, were analyzing why it failed.

The missile 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 (AAMDTC) 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.

The Missile Defence Agency is considering several locations to install a new Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (THAAD) interceptor system similar to the one which protects South Korea against a potential attack from the North, according to congressmen Mike Rogers and Adam Smith.

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

It comes amid renewed fears over North Korea’s nuclear ambition and missile launches, which have prompted a stepped-up U.S.-led campaign to toughen U.N. sanctions, which Pyongyang has called an act of war.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government approved the sale of the anti-ballistic missiles to Japan to help defend itself against a growing North Korean threat.

President Donald Trump also  praised the United Nations for voting unanimously for tough new sanctions to be imposed on North Korea.

All 15 nations on the UN Security Council voted in December for further sanctions to be placed on the North after it tested a ballistic missile last month which Pyongyang claims could reach the US mainland. The sanctions include drastically lowering limits on North Korea's oil imports.