Failed US Ballistic Missile Interception? That Will Cost $130 Million


The US’ most recent failure to intercept a missile after shooting an interceptor from Hawaii led to diminished confidence in the country’s ballistic missile defenses. A new report adds insult to injury: the test cost $130 million to complete.

The Missile Defense Agency revealed Tuesday that the unsuccessful interception on January 31, a trial run that tested a SM-3 missile from an Aegis test site, cost $130 million.

The developmental SM-3 interceptor cost $36 million while the dummy intermediate range missile ran $40 million. The rest of the expenses were incurred from using the Pacific Missile Range facility, utilizing multiple radars and sensors and compensating the 350 personnel required to carry out the test, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

“This was a developmental and operational test of a new capability and utilizes a missile variant not yet in production,” said Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, chief of MDA, after the test’s failure. While officials initially spoke off the record about the interceptor’s failed attempt to neutralize the ballistic missile, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser confirmed this weekend that the test was unsuccessful.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the US poured $123 billion into missile defense from 2002 to 2017. The Pentagon has proposed a $12.9 billion budget for ballistic missile defense in 2019 and $3.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency specifically.

The test wasn’t the only cause for alarm involving missiles and Hawaii last month. In mid-January, everyone on the islands received a text stating: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” About half an hour later, authorities blasted out another text stating that the alert was a false alarm. 


Failed US Ballistic Missile Interception? That Will Cost $130 Million

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