The Department of Defense’s failed missile defense test June 21 provided further proof of something we’ve been hoping isn’t true: it’s still pretty hard to block a speeding missile.
The test near Hawaii involved the new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile, a joint project between the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Japanese Defense Ministry. While radar aboard the USS John Paul Jones was able to detect and track the incoming medium-range ballistic target missile and fire off a guided intercepting missile, the system failed on the only part of the exercise that really matters: the actual intercept. Essentially, we whiffed.
The test marked the fourth for the SM-3 Block IIA, a missile designed to knock down medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. So far, developers on the project are one for two in actual intercept tests, with a successful knock-down carried out back in February. If and when the new interceptor missile clears the testing and development phase, it is slated to be incorporated in the Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.
It’s still unclear what exactly went wrong with the latest test. In a statement following the failure, the Missile Defense Agency said “program officials will conduct an extensive analysis of the test data. Until that review is complete, no additional details will be available.” When contacted by email, MDA Public Affairs Director Chris Johnson referred Task & Purpose to the agency’s statement.
The failure comes as the United States and its allies seek a workable counter to North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. Led by the impeccably coiffed Kim Jong Un, the North has carried out 10 missile tests since the beginning of 2017, increasing tensions with Washington and raising fears about a possible flare up on the volatile Korean Peninsula.
Obviously neither system has proven to be foolproof, and there’s clearly still work to be done. But, given the North’s incendiary rhetoric and nuclear aspirations, let’s hope both continue to improve, so we don’t have to look to the diplomatic skills of Dennis Rodman to save us from a possible collision with Pyongyang.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)
CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
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A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense
Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.
It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.