Japan hasÂ deployed their own Patriot PAC-3 Missle defense batteries Friday at Iruma airbase in Saitama Prefecture. This is a full year ahead of the announced date, and will certainly give North Korea something to think on. From Spacewars:
Kyodo also noted that while the current Patriots are deployed as an integrated part of Japan’s own armed forces, U.S. forces last October deployed PAC-3 missiles at the U.S. Kadena Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa, the main U.S. military base in the region. Each Patriot PAC-3 launcher can fire up to 16 missiles, the Japanese news agency said.
Tokyo is not betting on the Patriot alone. It has also purchased U.S.-built Standard Missile-3 interceptors to be fired from warships, and hopes top have its first warship armed with them operational by the end of this year. SM-3s are designed for higher level interception of incoming ballistic missiles, though not to intercept extremely fast flying intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. Patriots are designed for low level close range interception.
This will put two layers in place, and further development of the US GMD systems and other initiatives will put theÂ rest of theÂ needed missile defenseÂ layers in place.
Speaking of one of those other layers, THAAD successfully completed a second test this week, also from Spacewar:
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin conducted another successful flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system, intercepting a unitary target in THAAD’s second flight test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, HI. This hit-to-kill intercept demonstrated THAAD’s precision against in-bound threats and its ability to provide increased protection for troops and assets.
Preliminary data indicates the flight test met all objectives. This included new goals which set this test apart from previous flight tests:
The target was intercepted in the mid endo-atmosphere
The THAAD Fire Control and Communications unit’s data link communicated with a simulated Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ship via a satellite link with the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, located in San Diego. This successful link highlights the interoperability of the various elements of the United States’ Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS)
Proved THAAD’s endgame capability
Examined hit assessments in radar data
In other good news, both Australia and Spain have plans to equip US Aegis systems for some of their ships.