Parts of THAAD arrive in South Korea. [This photo released by U.S. Forces Korea on Tuesday shows two interceptor-missile launchers and other THAAD elements arrived Monday night at Osan Air Base in South Korea, transported by U.S. C-17 transport plane from Fort Bliss, Texas.]
South Korea and the United States advanced the procedure of deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) even as North Korea and China upped saber-rattling with the first components of the battery system arriving on Korean shores.
South Korea`s Defense Ministry and U.S. Forces Korea said two interceptor-missile launch pads and other THAAD elements arrived Monday night at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul. The arrival of the first elements of the THAAD system affirmed Washington’s “ironclad commitment” to the alliance with South Korea, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said. China was not informed of the arrival in advance.
The announcement comes one day after North Korea test fired four ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan. China immediately reacted with anger, saying it will take “necessary measures” to protect its security interests and warned that the U.S. and South Korea should be prepared to bear the consequences. China sees the system’s powerful radars as a security threat to its military arsenal.
A THAAD battery consists of six truck-mounted launchers, 48 interceptors with eight per launcher, a fire control and communications unit, and a TPY-2 radar. It will be located in a lot in the mountains of Seongju County in southern part, a land that previously was owned by Lotte Group.
A full deployment could be completed within one or two months and it could be operational as early as April in Korea. When all other elements of the system will arrive remains classified.
Seoul and Washington have stepped up their efforts to bring the system here as quickly as possible due to evolving nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, military authorities said.
By Ahn Doo-won
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