22 Aug 2011

Marshall Islands leaders concerned over missing missiles

8:12 am on 22 August 2011

Senators in the Marshall Islands say they are worried about public safety in their region after two missiles from the US defense programme recently disappeared.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson says two Kwajalein senators are concerned the flights are putting their constituencies at risk when tests go wrong.

He says the senators' fears have been heightened by the aborted Minuteman missile test in late July and the failure of a hypersonic glider just over a week ago.

He says the unmanned glider is the second to disappear over the Pacific during testing and it travels at twenty times the speed of sound, so it could be anywhere.

"These two tests both failed. The Minuteman re-entry vehicle was blown up somewhere in the vacinity of the Marshall Islands according to what the Defence Department said. And nobody seems to know exactly where the glider went because it simply stopped communicating with Mission Control."