April 02, 2020 13:08
The South Korean military has urgently deployed a Patriot missile battery at an air base in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province to defend it against North Korea's new ballistic missiles and super-large multiple rockets.
The base is home to a fleet of F-35 stealth fighter jets and therefore a prime target for North Korea, which fears the South's superior air power.
Currently, Patriot batteries are deployed at fewer than a half out of 10 air bases in Korea. They fall significantly short of the required number to deal with an emergency in the new circumstances.
"We urgently deployed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile at an air base in Cheongju last year because we concluded that the North's new missiles are aimed at the base as a priority target," a government source said Wednesday.
About a half of the Air Force's Patriot missiles are deployed to defend the Seoul metropolitan area and the other half air bases across the country.
The problem is that there are only about 130 new PAC-3 missiles, which would make it difficult to deal with a simultaneous barrage of new ballistic missiles from the North.
"We normally need two interceptor missiles to shoot down a single incoming enemy missile. We'll need more interceptor missiles to defend the country against the North's new intercept-evading, low-flying missiles," a source said.
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