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The Department of Defense on Monday said that a rocket carrying its experimental Army strike weapon exploded shortly after taking off from a launch pad in Alaska.
Defense spokeswoman Maureen Schumann told media persons that the rocket carrying the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon was terminated near a pad of the Kodiak Launch Complex, about 25 miles from the city of Kodiak, shortly after it developed technical snag.
Schumann further said that the testers decided to destroy the rocket after an anomaly was detected in order to ensure public safety.
“It came back down on the range complex. Fortunately, no people on the ground were injured. There was damage, but I’m not sure of the extent of it at this time, she told media.
According to the witnesses, the rocket blast off at 12:25 am but quickly head nose-down following an anomaly and exploded.
Scott Wight, a Kodiak radio photographer, said that he watched the rocket launch from Cape Greville in Chiniak, about a dozen miles from the launch site. According to him, the rocket exploded soon after the launch.
“The loud and scary explosion was followed a bring fire that burnt the rocket completely,” he said.
The rocket was the booster for the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, a glide vehicle designed in such a way that it quickly reach a target.
The Monday’s test was designed in a bid to enhance previous ground testing, modeling and simulation, Schumann said.
The Army is testing the design under the umbrella of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, she said.
The first flight test of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon was carried on November 17, 2011 during which the weapon was flown from Hawaii to Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific.