Tension builds up between US- North Korea: U.S deploys THAAD
Tension heightens in Korean Peninsula, even as US says its wants to put diplomatic pressure on North Korean dictator to abandon its nuclear weapons programme; US deploys missile defence system in South Korea Pyonyong replies with more show of strength.
The top US commander in the Pacific has said an advanced missile defence system in South Korea aims to bring the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “to his senses, not to his knees”.
It came as the Trump administration announced a tightening of sanctions against North Korea and a stepping up of diplomatic efforts amid mounting tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear threats.
Yesterday, Washington deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD missile in Seoul to counter the threat from North Korea, which is pushing ahead with its ballistic missile programme despite multiple sets of UN sanctions. US had earlier deployed air craft carrier and submarine in the region as well.
The North is also believed to be preparing for a sixth nuclear weapons test.
About THAAD Missile System
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile system which is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach.
- The missile carries no warhead, but relies on the kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile. A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional warhead ballistic missiles, and nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will not detonate upon a kinetic energy hit.
- THAAD was developed after the experience of Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991. THAAD was originally scheduled for deployment in 2012, but initial deployment took place in May 2008. THAAD has been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Korea.
- THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. The Navy has a similar program, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which now has a land component as well (“Aegis ashore”).
- The THAAD system is being designed, built, and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space Systems acting as prime contractor. Key subcontractors include Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet, Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, MiltonCAT and the Oliver Capital Consortium.