A missile fired from the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS The Sullivans (DDG-68), has exploded close to the vessel off the coast of Virginia.
Fired from the forward missile deck as part of an exercise off the US Atlantic coast last week, the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) caused minor damages to the ship.
The incident occurred during the planned exercise with the guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64).
Naval Sea Systems Command (Navsea) was quoted by USNI News as saying that the explosion was triggered by a malfunction in the missile.
Navsea said: "It is too early to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the ship’s schedule."
According to Navsea, the ship suffered a small fire damage on its port side ‘from missile debris’ and the missile’s warhead was unarmed.
Following the incident, the destroyer returned to Naval Station Norfolk unassisted. No crew members have been injured in the incident.
Navsea’s Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) is investigating to determine the cause of the incident.
Believed to be an older Raytheon SM-2 Block IIIA, the missile is designed to tackle traditional air threats, such as fighters and cruise missiles.
Navsea builds and manages ships and systems for the US Navy.