(Reuters) - The U.S. Missile Defense Agency on Friday said a target malfunction caused it to abort a key intercept test of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system, built by Lockheed Martin Corp, that is due to be installed in Romania this year.
"Due to a target malfunction, the test wasn't conducted and an interceptor wasn't launched," said Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department agency.
No comment was immediately available from Lockheed. Raytheon Co, which builds the SM-3 missile used by the Aegis Ashore system, the land-based version of the Aegis combat system deployed on U.S. Navy destroyers, as well as its AN/SPY-1 radar, referred questions to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
It was not immediately clear what caused the target to malfunction, or when the test would be rescheduled.
The new Aegis Ashore system is designed to defeat short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)