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U.S. missile defense system fails latest test

WASHINGTON -- A missile interceptor failed to hit its target in a test conducted over Hawaii on Wednesday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency says.  Test data is being analyzed to determine why the interceptor, known as a Standard Missile 3 Block IIA, didn't shoot down the target, the agency adds.

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

"The primary objective of the test was to intercept an air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile target," the statement said. … "However, this objective was not accomplished."

The test comes at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense component of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System is being developed in cooperation with Japan and is to be deployed on land as well as aboard ships.

An intercept test of the missile in June also failed, but a successful test was carried out early last year, the Reuters news agency points out.

Last month, a mistaken missile alert sent to mobile devices and TV and radio stations caused widespread panic and confusion in Hawaii.

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