Bad news, everyone: America’s missile defense system failed during a test Wednesday, CNN reports.
In the test, the defensive missile known as the SM-3 Block IIA was supposed to shoot down a flying object meant to imitate an intercontinental ballistic missile. This is no easy feat. One of the missile’s developers, defense contractor Raytheon, compares it “to intercepting a bullet with another bullet.” Still, it reportedly failed, raising concerns that the U.S. remains vulnerable to incoming missiles.
A Department of Defense spokesperson would only acknowledge to CNN that the test occurred, not whether it failed.
CNN says that the SM-3 Block IIA defensive missile is being developed with the specific goal of defending against North Korea’s ICBMs. And indeed, America’s missile defense capabilities are getting more attention these days, as North Korea tested several intercontinental ballistic missiles last year. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has ominously predicted that the continental U.S. could be within North Korean range “in a handful of months.” Many analysts have warned that President Trump’s aggressive rhetoric could accidentally spark a war on the Korean Peninsula.
Watch a video of the SM-3 Block IIA missile in action below.