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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Test of Missile Defense a Flop

The failure of a missile interceptor in a test proves that the United States' proposed national missile defense is unworkable, top Russian generals said.

An interceptor launched early Saturday from a Pacific island missed its intended target f a dummy warhead gliding through space. Officials blamed a glitch in the booster rocket, which didn't release a warhead-destroying "kill vehicle.''

Because the kill vehicle did not detach from the booster, it never activated the on-board sensors and other high-tech devices that it would use to intercept the warhead, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish said. The test cost $100 million.

Russian officials strongly oppose U.S. national missile defense plans, saying they could spark a new arms race as countries seek ways to penetrate defenses.

General Vladimir Yakovlev, commander of Strategic Missile Forces, was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying that the failed test showed that a defense system will not protect the United States.

"In its present technical design, the tested national missile defense will not be able to secure protection of U.S. territory, and attempts to deploy such a system will be an empty waste of money,'' Yakovlev said Saturday.

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, chief of the Defense Ministry's department of international cooperation, was quoted by Interfax as saying the failure showed such defenses were unworkable.

"Both Russian and American professionals in the anti-ballistic missile sphere are perfectly aware that it is impossible to create a system of absolute protection,'' Ivashov said.

"Russia will always be able to defeat any U.S. missile-defense system,'' he said. "The only question is whether it is worth investing such significant amounts of money in this scheme when it could be resolved by political means.''

General Valery Manilov, deputy head of the army General Staff, said missile defense was "politically dangerous and strategically wrong.''

"There will always be the possibility of creating more perfect offensive systems and this can pose a new threat,'' Itar-Tass quoted Manilov as saying.

U.S. officials are trying to get Russia to agree to changes in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by offering cuts in nuclear warheads under a proposed START III treaty.

But Russia has threatened to tear up all arms control agreements if the United States deploys a national missile defense.