By David Kvasnicka
Mysterious zig-zagging lights in skies over Maui and other Hawaiian islands which perplexed residents Tuesday night was likely the result of an anti-ballistic missile test , according to the US Department of Defense.
The Missile Defense Agency said that the “Aegis Ashore Weapon System launched an SM-3 Block IB guided missile from the land-based Vertical Launch System during a Missile Defense Agency and US Navy test from Kauai, Hawaii.”
The system is intended to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles before they strike their target.
The test occurred May 20 at about 7:35 p.m. and involved the US Navy, sailors at the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex and the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, says the DoD, which described the test as successful.
The department also said several fire control and engagement functions were exercised during the test and that a live target missile launch was not planned for the flight test.
The primary purpose of the test of the “Aegis Ashore Controlled Test Vehicle (AA CTV)-01,” says the DoD, was to “confirm the functionality of Aegis Ashore by launching a land-based SM-3. The Aegis Ashore system uses a nearly identical configuration of the Vertical Launch System, fire control system, and SPY-1 radar currently in use aboard Aegis cruisers and destroyers deployed around the world.”
The defense department said the flight test supported the development of the Aegis Ashore capability, planned to begin operations in Romania in 2015.
Photos provided to Maui Now by the US Department of Defense.