An "incorrect system setting" caused the shutdown of two interceptor missile launches in a failed test Thursday of the sea-based U.S. missile defense system, the military announced.
One dummy enemy ballistic missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, simulating a missile attack on U.S. territory, and the second shorter-range missile was launched from a Navy aircraft and aimed at the anti-missile ship intended to stop the attack, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.
But both interceptor missiles aboard the cruiser Lake Erie failed to launch -- one because of the automatic fire-control system aboard the ship and the other intentionally, because the drill was intended to test defense against a dual-missile attack, the agency said.
Both target missiles dropped harmlessly into the ocean. The first one was lost, and the second was being recovered for future tests as intended, said agency spokesman Chris Taylor.
Taylor said it represented the second failure in nine tests of the system.