USS The Sullivans damaged after missile explodes during test launch

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Norfolk, Va. - The USS The Sullivans was damaged when a missile exploded shortly after launch during an exercise off the coast on Saturday.

Photographs obtained by USNI news show a small fire from debris on the port side of the ship following the blast. Crew members were able to quickly extinguish the fire, according to NAVSEA.

The photos also show debris falling over the ship and the surrounding ocean.

“On July 18 at approximately 9 a.m. (EDT) a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) test missile exploded after suffering a malfunction as it was fired from the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) during a planned missile exercise off the coast of Virginia,” read a statement from Naval Sea Systems Command provided to USNI News.

“It is too early to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the ship’s schedule,” read the statement.

The warhead on the missile was unarmed, NAVSEA told USNI News.

Naval Sea Systems Command’s program executive office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) is now investigating the cause of the malfunctioning missile, NAVSEA officials told USNI News.

The Sullivans returned to Naval Station Norfolk under its own power and is still being assessed there.

Below is the full statement provided by NAVSEA:

On July 18 at approximately 9 a.m. (EDT) a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) test missile exploded after suffering a malfunction as it was fired from the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) during a planned missile exercise off the coast of Virginia. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the port side of the ship resulting from missile debris. The ship returned to Naval Station Norfolk for assessment. An investigation into the malfunction has been ordered and is being conducted by the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, which is part of Naval Sea Systems Command. It is too early to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the ship’s schedule.

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