Japan has started deploying land-based Patriot interceptors after North Korea threatened to send ballistic missiles flying over western Japan and landing near Guam.
The Defense Ministry said Friday the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 surface-to-air interceptors are being deployed at four locations: Hiroshima, Kochi, Shimane and Ehime. The deployment is largely aimed at responding to the risk of falling fragments while missiles fly over the region.
The four PAC-3 systems are brought from eastern Japan, as its missile defense is largely centered around Tokyo. They are expected to arrive in the designated sites early Saturday. The ministry did not confirm whether Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has already issued an order to shoot down incoming missiles.
Meanwhile, American and South Korean officials said they would move forward with large-scale military exercises later this month that North Korea claims are a rehearsal for war.
An escalating exchange of provocative rhetoric between the United States and North Korea is alarming international leaders. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, estimated the risk of a military conflict between the U.S. and North Korea as “very high,” and said Moscow is deeply concerned. German Chancellor Angela Merkel declined to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S. in case of a military conflict with North Korea. She called on the U.N. Security Council to continue to address the issue.
U.S. President Donald Trump said this week the U.S. would unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continued to threaten the country.
MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system manufactured by Raytheon and derives its name from the radarcomponent of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the “Phased array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target” which is a backronym for PATRIOT. The Patriot System is the U.S. Army’s primary High to Medium and medium tactical Air Defense system. In addition to these roles, Patriot has been given the function of the U.S. Army’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, which is now Patriot’s primary mission. The system is expected to stay fielded until at least 2040.
Patriot uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems.
Patriot systems are currently deployed in Republic of China (Taiwan), Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Spain.
The Patriot system gained notoriety during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 with the claimed engagement of over 40 Iraqi Scud missiles.
Source: Associated Press