An experimental hypersonic missile developed by the U.S. military was destroyed four seconds after lift-off during a test launch in Alaska early on Monday, the Pentagon said.
The missile, known as the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, can carry a nuclear bomb or conventional payload weighing up to 12,000 lbs and was developed by Sandia National Laboratory and the U.S. Army. It is part of a program to create a missile that can destroy targets anywhere on Earth within an hour of getting data and permission to launch. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is designed to travel at Mach 5, or about 3,600 miles per hour.
The system was launched by a rocket at the Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island off the southern Alaskan coast on Monday. It was scheduled to glide to its target, the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann said the operators were forced to terminate the mission to ensure public safety after an anomaly was discovered four seconds after lift-off, KMXT Radio reported.
The weapon had successfully flown from Hawaii to the Kwajalein Atoll in a previous test in November 2011.
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