Missile launch gone wrong.
On Jul. 18, U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans was damaged after an old Raytheon Standard Missile 2 Block IIIA guided missile exploded shortly after launch off the U.S. Atlantic coast., exploded shortly after takeoff.
As a consequence of the explosion, the warship was showered with debris that sparked fire on the port side of the destroyer.
According to the report published by USNI News, that obtained the pictures of the explosion, The Sullivans was involved in a missile exercise along with the guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) which was not damaged during the incident.
There were no reported injuries.
“The SM-2 Block IIIA, first fielded in 1991, was developed to not only handle traditional air threats like fighters but was modified to interdict sea skimming targets like cruise missiles. […] While the Navy didn’t comment on why the missile failed, the photos point to a problem with the rocket engines that drove the SM-2,” USNI Editor Sam Lagrone explained in his post.
Image credit: U.S. Navy via USNI News.