A US Aegis warship missile defense systems failed to hit the target during a Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 31 Event 1 conducted in cooperation with the Navy in Hawaii, according to the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) is designed by the US Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency to defend against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which is part of the US’ overall missile defense strategy.
The MDA said that the goal of the test was to show that a ballistic missile defense-configured Aegis ship could detect, track, engage, and intercept a medium-range ballistic missile target with a salvo of two Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) Dual II missiles.
The US Missile Defense Agency said that an Aegis ship fired two SM-6 interceptors, but failed to hit a medium range ballistic target – with a Russian intelligence-gathering vessel allegedly closely monitoring the botched test.
The overall number of Navy ships equipped with Aegis BMD totals 33 ships, 17 of which are assigned to the Pacific fleet and 16 to the Atlantic fleet.
The Pentagon did not specify which Aegis warship was involved or the exact area where the test took place, but according to local Maui Now news, citing MDA officials, the test occurred somewhere northwest of Hawaii.
According to USNI, a Russian surveillance vessel was in the area since at least last Friday, operating west of the island of Kauai, which is home to the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands – the largest US missile testing range.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser even claimed that the presence of the Russian vessel had allegedly delayed one the MDA’s tests, although the allegation is hard to verify since the Pentagon rarely publicizes its tests in advance.
The US military said the Russian ship was being tracked by multiple maritime aircraft and surface patrol vessels at all times, and was operating fully within the bounds of international law, posing no hazard to navigation.
While US officials did not name the vessel, media reports and open-source intelligence analysts identified the ‘Russian spy ship’ as one of the Meridian class intelligence gathering vessels, supposedly the Kareliya 535, which had been retrofitted with an extensive array of new sensors in 2017.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on its alleged surveillance operation, and it was unclear if the ship was still in the area during the failed US missile defense test.
The test target expended against this AEGIS SM-6 was a Pershing -ll missile supposed to be taken out of service in 1991, however in breach of the 1987 INF treaty the USA kept the Pershing-ll (MGM-31C) missile in production.
The US military re-designated it as the MDTT (Missile Defense Test Target). It is rumored by Popular Mechanics magazine that the MDTT is currently deployed in Australia with the W86 Earth penetration warhead.
This means that the MDTT is in fact now a MGM-31C Pershing-ll aimed at China. Australia is now a nuclear counter target and the Australian people were never consulted.
Sputnik / RT. com / ABC Flash Point Blog News 2021.