The US military has failed to shoot down an incoming dummy missile from Hawaii during a test, a US official says, amid heightened concerns about North Korea's developing missile and nuclear program.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said an SM-3 Block IIA missile was launched from an Aegis Ashore test site in Hawaii, but failed to hit another missile launched from an aircraft.
The missile, which is being developed by weapons manufacturer Raytheon, is used to target intermediate range missiles.
The Missile Defence Agency did not comment on the outcome of the test, but confirmed one had taken place.
"The Missile Defence Agency and US Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defence 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," agency spokesman Mark Wright said.
An intercept test for the missile last June also failed, but there was a successful test in early 2017.
The last year saw ramped-up North Korean missile launches — some of them over Japanese territory — and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
These actions prompted a stepped-up, US-led campaign to toughen UN sanctions, which Pyongyang called an act of war.
Hawaii has been in a state of heightened tension recently after an emergency alert was mistakenly sent to residents warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack.