First U.S. THAAD missile battery unit setup in South Korea

According to the Yonhap South Korean News Agency website, the U.S. Forces in South Korea (USFK) said Sunday, October 22, 2017, it has officially set up the unit charged with operating the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployed in South Korea.

First US army THAAD missile battery unit setup in South Korea 925 001
U.S. army THAAD air defense missile system in Seongju, South Korea: Picture from Japantimes

A ceremony was held in the southeastern county of Seongju on Thursday to transfer the Delta Battery of the 11th Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Brigade in Fort Bliss, Texas, to the 35th ADA Brigade in South Korea, official sources said.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, which has missile launchers, command and control facilities and a powerful radar, was first deployed in April as part of the Global Response Force amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. At the time there were two interceptor launchers stationed in the rural county. Four more were added last month.

In September, South Korea announced that the deployment of a THAAD battery in the county had been completed in a "tentative" step to counter threats from North Korea. The battery has been operational, but the military unit and manpower operating it has not fully been in place.

South Korea decided to deploy the U.S. missile defense shield -- despite fierce protest from local residents and civic groups -- as a countermeasure to North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile provocations.

In addition, the USFK and South Korea's military said they will create a joint security force to guard the Seongju base. The security contingent will be made up of troops from South Korea's 201st Special Assault Brigade under the 2nd Operation Command and USFK's special combined security force.

The THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system is an easily transportable air defense missile system designed to protect an airspace against hostile incoming threats such as tactical and theatre ballistic missiles at ranges of 200 km and at altitudes up to 150 km.