North Korea

US test to shoot down ballistic missile fails

Amid the threat of North Korea possibly launching a missile, the latest U.S. effort to test its shoot-down capability failed on Wednesday night, according to a statement from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

A medium-range ballistic missile was launched from a test range in Hawaii at 7:20 pm local time, but the interceptor missile fired at sea from USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, missed the target.

“A planned intercept was not achieved,” the statement said.

A U.S. defense official told Fox News both the ballistic missile and the SM-3 interceptor missile fired from the American warship landed in the ocean, but neither were recovered after both missiles broke up when impacting the water.

Wednesday's launch was the second attempt to shoot down a ballistic missile from a U.S. Navy warship since February. The first test was successful, but this latest attempt failed after missing the target for reasons not explained in the statement.

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Late last month in a first-of-its-kind test, the U.S. military successfully shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile target in outer space using an interceptor missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The Pentagon will now also have to defend against the potential North Korean missile threat without the use of one of its premier ballistic missile defense ships, after USS Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer, struck a 700-foot cargo ship off the coast of Japan last week.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews