Rocket carrying an experimental Army strike weapon exploded early Monday after taking off from a launch pad in Alaska
Kodiak photographer Scott Wight watched the launch from Cape Greville in Chiniak
Weapon able to travel at speeds of up to 3,500mph and strike anywhere on Earth in hours
By JAMES NYE FOR MAILONLINE and REUTERS and ASSOCIATED PRESS
PUBLISHED: 01:26 GMT, 26 August 2014 | UPDATED: 08:03 GMT, 26 August 2014
A top-secret weapon being developed by the US military was destroyed four seconds after its launch from a test range in Alaska early on Monday after controllers detected a problem with the system, the Pentagon said.
The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is part of a program to create a missile that will destroy targets anywhere on Earth within hours - traveling at speeds in excess of 3,500 miles-an-hour or Mach 5.
The mission was aborted to ensure public safety, and no one was injured in the incident, which occurred shortly after 4 am EDT at the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, said Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Department.
'We had to terminate,' Schumann said. 'The weapon exploded during takeoff and fell back down in the range complex,' she added.
The incident caused an undetermined amount of damage to the launch facility 25 miles from the city of Kodiak, Schumann said.
Officials said that the weapon system was not carrying a warhead when it was aborted.
The rocket carrying the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon was terminated near a pad of the Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island shortly after liftoff, spokeswoman Maureen Schumann said.
After an anomaly was detected, testers made the decision to destroy the rocket to ensure public safety, Schumann said.
"It came back down on the range complex," she said. "Fortunately, no people on the ground were injured. There was damage, but I'm not sure of the extent of it at this time."
The launch complex is about 25 miles from the city of Kodiak.
Witnesses watched the rocket lift off at 12:25 am, quickly head nose-down and explode, KMXT radio reported.
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