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LEAD: Missile test by Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force fails+
[November 19, 2008]

LEAD: Missile test by Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force fails+


(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Nov. 20_(Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING DETAILS)

A Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer failed to shoot down a mock ballistic missile in space Wednesday with a U.S.-developed interceptor over Hawaii, Japanese Defense Ministry officials said Thursday.

The high-tech Aegis destroyer Choukai successfully test-fired a Standard Missile-3 interceptor near the island of Kauai at 4:21 p.m. but the interceptor lost track of the target seconds before it was supposed to hit it, the officials said.



It is not immediately known what happened to the launched interceptor and debris that may have resulted from it, they added.

The missile test followed Japan's first test of the ship-to-space missile by another Aegis destroyer of the MSDF, the Kongou, also over Hawaii, in December last year.


The ministry conducted the test, which cost some 6 billion yen, after the Choukai, commissioned in 1998, underwent a refit to enable it to launch the SM-3 missile.

Japan has been keen to develop a missile shield with the help of the United States particularly since the August 1998 launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea that flew over the Japanese archipelago before falling into the Pacific off the coast of Japan.

The SM-3 interceptor system covers the upper range of Japan's two-layer missile defense shield, ministry officials said.

The SM-3 is designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles outside the earth's atmosphere, while the ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability 3 is designed to intercept missiles the SM-3 misses.

Copyright ? 2008 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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