While the sped-up deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to South Korea increased tension with North Korea, it also led to angry responses from Russia and China particularly China.
|Early reports indicated that THAAD missiles would have a relatively short range that would reach throughout North Korea. The system will actually have a much longer range able to penetrate deep into Chinese and Russian territory:|
According to China’s Xinhua news outlet, South Korea earlier had claimed that the THAAD would be deployed with a detection range of some 600 kilometers, sufficient to cover its North Korean foe. Now though it appears that the US Pentagon is upgrading the radar working range of the system to reach 2,000 kms. With that much greater additional scope, the American missile system on the Korean Peninsula will be able to penetrate deep into Chinese and Russian territory. Beijing and Vladivostok are less that 1,000 kms from South Korea’s capital Seoul.
The communist government of Kim Jung-un had warned that the latest ballistic test firing would go ahead in response to the current US war maneuvers being conducted with its South Korean ally. The Foal-Eagle US war exercises are carried out every year and last for two months, involving up to 300,000 troops, aircraft carriers and aerial bombers. The annual «war games» have been going on for decades since the end of the Korean War in 1953, which North Korea has repeatedly denounced as a drill for the eventual invasion of its territory.
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.