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Ship Sunk by Missile

Today in the Word, May 12, 1992

During the 1982 war in the Falkland Islands between England and Argentina, the Royal Navy's 3,500-ton destroyer HMS Sheffield was sunk by a single missile fired from an Argentine fighter jet. It caused some people to wonder if modern surface warships were obsolete, sitting ducks for today's sophisticated missiles. But a later check revealed that the Sheffield's defenses did pick up the incoming missile, and the ship's computer correctly identified it as a French-made Exocet. But the computer was programmed to ignore Exocets as "friendly." The Sheffield was sunk by a missile it saw coming and could have evaded.