The latest US missile defense test won’t get nearly as much fanfare as the previous one, as despite being conduct under ideal conditions, today’s US Navy intercept test failed to shoot down a medium-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii.
This was the second test of the SM-3 Block IIA, running on a top-of-the-line Aegis system on the USS John Paul Jones. Officials maintain that the destroyer was able to both detect and track the missile, not much of a feat since they were the ones who fired both missiles in the first place. They were not, however, able to shoot it down.
This is reflective of the high degree of difficulty in successfully shooting down a missile even under the most optimum situation possible, with advanced notice and all of the data in place ahead of time, and even having launched the “target” themselves, the intercept is still a crap shoot.
The missile defense systems are hugely expensive, and scientists have repeatedly warned that figures on success rates are wildly optimistic, with very little chance they’d be able to pull off a successful shoot-down of a hostile missile fired without advanced warning or a per-arranged flight plan.