The Missile defense Agency is strengthening the 1st and 2nd THAAD batteries to the full six-launcher configuration. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The US Army has allocated its Continental-US (CONUS) Based THAAD to deploy to South Korea on emergency situations, a South Korean military source confirmed Sunday. [nonmember]Subscribe to read the full version[/nonmember]
[ismember]The US Army and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) plan to field seven THAAD batteries in its order of battle, each equipped with 24 ready to launch THAAD missile interceptors. The units are deployed in US bases and overseas, to protect national interests. The US Army has already activated four of the seven batteries. Battery 5 is scheduled for activation in 2015, and Batteries 6 and 7 are currently under contract.

The US Army has deployed THAADs to Guam for the past three years. In recent days Delta Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment transitioned to The Pacific island, to maintain the critical missile defense mission in the area. The transition marks the third consecutive year of THAAD unit deployments to Guam.

The first THAAD unit was sent to Guam in April 2013 in response to threats against the United States and its Pacific allies.[/ismember]

THAAD systems are able to deploy from their base at Ft. Bliss, Texas, US within hours, using C-17 Globemaster III military transport planes.

The first to deploy overseas was Alpha battery, that demonstrated its rapid deployment capability in 2013, as it deployed to Guan in response to a possible North Korean BM-25 Musudan Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles capability to target the island.

South Korea, where 28,500 US troops are stationed is much closer to North Korea and the THAAD systems are more likely to be needed there. However, South Korea is objecting to permanent deployment of these missiles on its soil, fearing escalation with China. The Korean ambiguity on this matter, and the temporary deployment of the THAAD will not enable full integration with Seoul’s own missile defense system, KAMD.

imageSouth Korea also opposes the permanent deployment of US AN/TPY-2, an early missile warning radar system that detects missiles up to 2,000 kilometers away, which would include China’s military facilities. “Our military has our own missile warning system, the Green Pine, which has a range of 600 km, so we don’t need AN/TPY-2,” a source within the South Korean government said.

[ismember]The Green Pine radar system developed by Israel’s IAI Elta Systems to be the early warning and battle management asset for the Arrow ballistic missile defense systems. This radar is also providing the primary early warning sensor for the Korean KAMD and Indian Missile Defense system, where it is designated ‘Swordfish’. Azerbaijan has reportedly acquired such radar to improve its early warning from potential Iranian missile attack.

Although the Israelis have deployed several such radars with their Arrow II batteries, they also agreed to integrate an APY-2 radar permanently stationed in Israel’s Negev desert to enhance their early warning and ‘Sky Picture’, for the mutual advantage of Israeli use and regional security of US forces and its allies.[/ismember]