PAC-2 will move to the capital region by late 2018

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PAC-2 will move to the capital region by late 2018

Following the U.S. deployment of an advanced antimissile system in the southern town of Seongju, Korea plans to move its Patriot missile battalion from Daegu to the capital region to defend Seoul and its neighboring towns from North Korea’s growing missile threats.

According to a report from the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted to Rep. Kim Jong-dae of the Justice Party on Wednesday, the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-2 battalion, stationed in Daegu to defend the southern region, will be moved north by the end of next year as a result of the U.S. military’s recent deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) battery in the nearby town of Seongju, North Gyeongsang.

The Thaad system’s interceptors have a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) and the Seoul metropolitan area is not covered by it.

The system still covers as much as two-thirds of South Korean territory from the North’s nuclear and missile threats.

Seongju is about 240 kilometers from the inter-Korean border.

According to the military, the U.S. Forces Korea in North Gyeongsang also operates another Patriot missile battalion.

With the Thaad system, it said, the central region has multilayer missile defense shields to shoot down the North’s ballistic missiles to protect key installations in the southern regions including Daegu Airport.

“In addition to the relocation of the Patriot battalion to the capital region,” a military source told the JoongAng Ilbo, “we will speed up the project to improve the capabilities of the antimissile systems from PAC-2 to PAC-3.”

The PAC-2 is a mobile, low-tier, land-based missile interceptor system designed to target incoming tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or aircrafts with blast-fragmentation warheads that send debris from exploded missiles into the target. Korea currently operates a PAC-2 system.

The U.S. Forces Korea operates a PAC-3 system, which uses “hit-to-kill” interceptors.

The system destroys incoming ballistic and cruise missiles by direct impact at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers. The Korean military said it will upgrade the PAC-2 system to the PAC-3 in the upcoming years. The Thaad system is capable of intercepting incoming missiles at altitudes of up to 150 kilometers.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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