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Navy to destroy two missiles dropped in ocean off Camp Pendleton

September 22, 2011 |  5:22 pm

Rocket The Navy next week is set to conduct an underwater demolition off  Camp Pendleton to destroy two missiles lodged in about 60 feet of water.

The Sea Sparrow missiles were jettisoned for safety purposes by a helicopter taking them to the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard on Aug. 30, the Navy said. The two missiles dropped 400 feet  to the ocean’s surface about 1.7 miles from Camp Pendleton.

During the flight to the ship, the two missiles began to "swing excessively" and were a threat to the safety of the helicopter and its crew, the Navy said.

In advance of the demolition, the Coast Guard will enforce a 2,000-yard safety zone and broadcast a warning to civilian craft to stay clear.

Sea Sparrow experts at the Naval Air Systems Command have determined that it is not safe to attempt to move the missiles ashore, the Navy said. The detonation may produce a plume of water visible from land.

The Sea Sparrow is a surface-to-air missile used primarily as defense against anti-ship missiles.

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A Sea Sparrow missile is fired from the amphibious assault ship Essex during training in East China Sea. Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Alvarez / U.S. Navy

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