U.S. to increase presence of air defense systems in Asia to counter threat of North Korea missiles 11002173

Defense & Security News - United States
 
U.S. to increase presence of air defense systems in Asia to counter threat of North Korea missiles.
With North Korea testing more missiles than ever before, U.S. Army would like to increase the presence of air defense systems in Asia, with the deployment of THAAD, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense in South Korea, and an AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan to bolster ballistic missile defense in the region.
     
With North Korea testing more missiles than ever before, U.S. Army would like to increase the presence of air defense systems in Asia, with the deployment of THAAD, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense in South Korea, and an AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan to bolster ballistic missile defense in the region.
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) mobile launcher sits on display in the new Lt. Gen. C.J. LeVan THAAD Instructional Facility at Fort Sill, Okla. Jan. 23, 2015. (Photo U.S. army)
     
Since late 2011 when Kim took over North Korea after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, the country has conducted two nuclear tests. It has also launched more than 120 missiles. That's twice as many missiles as his father and grandfather, Kim Il-sung, fired altogether in 40 years, according to Gen. Vincent Brooks, who leads all U.S. forces in South Korea.

"It's very clear in what direction Kim Jong-un is heading and that is to have a full arsenal of capability that can hold the United States at risk for deterrence purposes, but also for coercive diplomacy," he said Tuesday via video teleconference, as part of an air and missile defense forum hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.

In response, the U.S. Army plans to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, battery to protect South Korea. In July 2016, the U.S. stationed one of the high-end missile defense systems in Guam. The THAAD battery is designed to shoot down a missile as it descends to its target.


The THAAD, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense is an American-made anti-ballistic missile system designed to destroy short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach.

The THAAD missiles have an estimated range of 200 km, and can reach an altitude of 150 km. The THAAD missile is manufactured at the Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations facility near Troy, Alabama.
     
With North Korea testing more missiles than ever before, U.S. Army would like to increase the presence of air defense systems in Asia, with the deployment of THAAD, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense in South Korea, and an AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan to bolster ballistic missile defense in the region. The Radar Surveillance and Control Model 2, or AN/TPY-2, is a transportable X-band, high-resolution, phased-array radar designed specifically for ballistic missile defense.
     
The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command is also operating a second powerful AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan to bolster ballistic missile defense in the region, said Lt. Gen. Jim Dickinson, who last month took charge of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

The AN/TPY-2 radar is designed by the American Company Raytheon to detect the treath of ballistic missile. The first step in defeating a ballistic missile that has been fired is “seeing” it. And that’s where Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 X-Band radar comes in. A critical element in the Ballistic Missile Defense System, AN/TPY-2 continually searches the sky for ballistic missiles. Once it detects a missile, it acquires it, tracks it, and uses its powerful radar and complex computer algorithms to discriminate between the warhead and non-threats such as countermeasures.


The Army is also considering plans to increase the number of ground-based interceptors based in Alaska and California from 30 to 44 by the end of 2017, Dickinson said of the missiles that can hit intercontinental ballistic missiles at higher altitudes.
 
Although a timeframe on the THAAD battery deployment to South Korea was not discussed, Dickinson said the Army is well into its planning, despite concerns from China that the system's radar could be used against its military.

While visiting South Korea last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that the THAAD system would be used only to defend that country and the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed there.
 
 
"And were it not for the provocative behavior of North Korea, we would have no need for THAAD out here," he said. "There's no other nation that needs to be concerned about THAAD other than North Korea."

T he U.S. Army continues to strengthen its collaboration and trust between the U.S., South Korea and Japan to create layers of defense against North Korea.
 

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