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Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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US THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea will be Ready for Action within 10 Months, says USFK Commander

USFK Commander

(Photo : US Army) Gen. Vincent Brooks

The deployment of the first THAAD missile system battery in South Korea, which should be completed by September 2017, is part of a strategic rotation campaign meant to increase deterrence pressure on North Korea.

More disturbingly, there are calls from segments of the South Korean military and the government that South Korea begin developing its own home grown nuclear weapons to further deter North Korea from testing nuclear weapons and mobile intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs).

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Rotating strategic weaponry onto the Korean Peninsula will have a deterrent effect against North Korean provocations that have included nuclear weapons and ballistic missile threats, said Gen. Vincent Keith Brooks , Commander, United States Forces Korea (USFK), United Nations Command and ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command.

Gen. Brooks also said the first U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system battery will be deployed to South Korea within 8 to 10 months. The battery's interceptors can destroy North Korean ballistic missiles such as the Hwasong-10 (Musudan) IRBM North Korea has tested over the past few months.

Gen. Brooks also said this THAAD battery will deploy more mobile launchers than the one deployed in Guam. The THAAD battery will be under Gen. Brooks' command.

The THAAD battery will be under the operational control of Gen Brooks' USFK, the joint headquarters through which U.S. combat forces are deployed to the U.S.' and South Korea's combined ground, air, naval, marine and special operations forces component commands.

A THAAD battery consists of six mobile launchers, 48 missiles, airborne radar and fire control system. Its X-band radar can detect missiles 2,000 kilometers away on a forward-based mode and 600 kilometers on a terminal mode.

The U.S. and South Korean governments are discussing such strategic weaponry deployment options apart from the THAAD deployment. These options could include basing U.S. Air Force such as the B-1 Lancer in South Korean USAF bases or flying more show of force flights close to the border with North Korea.

Some believe the U.S. should again deploy its tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea as part of this strategic weapons deployment but Gen. Brooks said this move will complicate the already tense military situation where a small miscalculation might trigger a larger war.

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