Sunday, July 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US interceptor missile fails

WASHINGTON, July 8 (PTI) — In a major setback to the United State’s controversial anti-missile defence system, an interceptor missile today failed to hit its intended target, a missile with a dummy warhead gliding through space, over the pacific.

The test costing $ 100 million failed as the “kill vehicle” , designed to seek out and destroy the incoming warhead, did not detach from the booster. On-board sensors and other high-tech devices to intercept the incoming missile were also not activated, Pentagon said.

“We did not intercept the warhead that we expected. We are disappointed with that,” Lt Gen Ronald Kadish, director of Pentagon’s Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation, said.

The failure of the missile defence project which was bitterly opposed by Russia and China and which sparked deep concern among Washinton’s closest European allies, has put a question mark on the chances of deployment of the National Defence Missile system by 2005.

The missile test was delayed by two hours due to a last minute technical glitch owing to a weak battery in the modified Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile carrying the dummy warhead. The missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force base in California at 0949 IST and headed toward the central Pacific.

The interceptor missile carrying the warhead-blasting “kill vehicle” was launched 21 minutes later from Kwajalein Atoll. The “kill vehicle” was to have destroyed the minuteman missile by sheer force of impact at a speed of 25,750 KMPH at a height of 225 km above the Earth.

Gen Kadish said a computerised command that was supposed to separate the “kill vehicle” from the second stage of the booster never came. “It was looking for a second stage separation signal. It did not get that.”

This led to the “kill vehicle” not being released for destroying the incoming warhead, he said adding the baloon decoy in the target missile also did not inflate.

He said it may take several days to ascertain what went wrong and ways to overcome them.

MOSCOW, (AFP): Russia hopes US President Bill Clinton will abandon plans to deploy a national missile defence shield after today’s failed anti-missile test, a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

Russia “hopes that the unsuccessful anti-missile test means the national missile defence system is not deployed,” the ITAR-TASS news agency quoted the unnamed official as saying.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |