Sailor makes $100 million screw up?

A sailor on board a US Navy destroyer pressed the wrong button during an exercise last month, ruining a $100 million missile test.

It was the fourth test of a new super-interceptor, designed as part of a joint US and Japanese military programme to combat an intermediate-range ballistic missile attack by North Korea. Three earlier tests had been successful.

The crew of the USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, fired an SM-3 block IIA interceptor targeting an unarmed ballistic missile that had been launched from Hawaii.

It was the first test of this interceptor from a warship equipped with the US Aegis combat system that is supposed to manage the whole “hit-to-kill” operation. The interceptor should have hit the target with the force of a ten-ton lorry travelling at 600mph, destroying it.

When the interceptor exploded before reaching the incoming missile, the Pentagon feared that the flight test had failed because of some disastrous technical fault.

After an inquiry, investigators realised that a US Navy operator monitoring the data had misidentified the target as a “friendly” missile and pressed the button for the interceptor to self-destruct.
I am reminded of the old phrase, "It is impossible to make things foolproof because fools are so ingenious."  Hopefully, this will not happen if the North Koreans launch a missile toward the US or its allies.


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