A Navy guided missile destroyer was damaged after a missile exploded shortly after launch during an exercise off the U.S. Atlantic coast on Saturday, Navy officials have confirmed to USNI News.
“On July 18 at approximately 9 a.m. (EDT) a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) test missile exploded after suffering a malfunction as it was fired from the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) during a planned missile exercise off the coast of Virginia,” read a statement from Naval Sea Systems Command provided to USNI News.
There were no reported injuries and though the ship suffered a small fire on its port side “from missile debris” the destroyer was able to return to Naval Station Norfolk, Va. unassisted, NAVSEA said.
“It is too early to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the ship’s schedule,” read the statement.
The missile, believed to be an older Raytheon Standard Missile 2 Block IIIA, exploded shortly after takeoff and showered the ship with debris sparking the fire on the ship’s port side, according to pictures of the incident obtained by USNI News. The photographs show ignited debris shower the ship and the surrounding ocean. The explosion appears to have occurred slightly lower than the mast of The Sullivans.
The warhead on the missile was unarmed, NAVSEA told USNI News.
Naval Sea Systems Command’s program executive office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) is now investigating the cause of the malfunctioning missile, NAVSEA officials told USNI News.
According to pictures of the explosion obtained by USNI News, a fire broke out on the port side of The Sullivans shortly after the missile launched.
The Sullivans was performing a missile exercise along with the guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) which was not damaged during the incident, USNI News understands.
SOURCE: Sam LaGrone