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Missile Defense Watch: United States Considering Deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missiles in Japan

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AP: Report: U.S. Mulls Defenses for Tokyo

The U.S. is considering deploying its advanced Patriot missile defense system near Tokyo after North Korea‘s recent missile and nuclear tests, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Washington unofficially informed the Japanese government it is considering putting Patriot Advanced Capability 3 surface-to-air interceptor missiles around Yokota Air Base in Tokyo’s western suburbs and around Yokosuka Naval Base, south of the capital, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported without saying how it got the information.

The added defenses would cover critical U.S. military installations on the outskirts of Tokyo.

The move would be part of a previously announced U.S.-Japanese effort to deploy PAC-3 missile defense systems around the country as the two allies look for ways to counter what is seen as a growing threat from neighboring North Korea.

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Information on the PAC-3 Patriot system is here.

Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) is a high/medium advanced surface-to-air guided missile air defense system. PAC-3 is a major upgrade to the Patriot system. The PAC-3 Operational Requirements Document (ORD) represents the Army Air Defense need to buy back required battlespace lost against the current and evolving tactical missile and air breathing threat. PAC-3 is needed to ounter/defeat/destroy the 2008 threat and to extend Patriot’s capabilities to accomplish new/revised missions. In tandem with the upgraded radar and ground control station, PAC-3 interceptors can protect an area about seven times greater than the original Patriot system.

The PAC-3 Program consists of two interrelated acquisition programs – The PAC-3 Growth Program and the PAC-3 Missile Program. The Growth program consists of integrated, complementary improvements that will be implemented by a series of phased, incrementally fielded material changes. The PAC-3 Missile program is a key component of the overall improvements of the Patriot system, it will provide essential increases in battlespace, accuracy, and kill potential.

The United States should immediately deploy this defensive missile system to protect its bases in Japan and to protect major Japanese population centers. Aegis sea based missile defenses are already deployed off the coasts of North Korea and Japan.

Additional information on the PAC-3 System is here.

North Korea alarmed the region in July by test firing several missiles, including a long-range model believed capable of striking the western U.S. Earlier this month, the isolated communist country sparked global outrage by its first-ever test of a nuclear bomb.

Analysts doubt North Korea’s ability to accurately deliver atomic weapons atop its missiles. But after the missile test, the U.S. and Japan announced plans to deploy the Patriots, which are designed to destroy ballistic or cruise missiles and aircraft.

U.S. military officials have already confirmed that the first batch of equipment for the PAC-3 missiles arrived in Okinawa in southern Japan, where the bulk of U.S. forces in the nation are stationed.

The Patriots would be used as a last resort if Standard Missile-3 interceptors fired from U.S. and Japanese ships fail to knock out incoming missiles, the report said.

Stay tuned…..

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