Apr 022012
 

~ a PF Find!

The Pentagon recently activated its global missile shield in anticipation of North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile, according to defense officials.

Three interceptor ships near Japan and the Philippines, as well as U.S.-based interceptors, are ready to shoot down the North Korean missile. Photo Credit:Dept. of Defense

The Pentagon recently activated its global missile shield in anticipation of North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile, according to defense officials.

The measures include stepped-up electronic monitoring, deployment of missile interceptor ships, and activation of radar networks to areas near the Korean peninsula and western Pacific.

Three interceptor ships near Japan and the Philippines, as well as U.S.-based interceptors, are ready to shoot down the North Korean missile if space-, land-, and sea-based sensors determine its flight path is targeted at the United States or U.S. allies, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. …

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham would not say if missile defenses were activated for the upcoming test.

According to U.S. officials, current intelligence assessments indicate the North Korean missile will be launched from a base called Tongchang-ri, located on a west coast peninsula north of Pyongyang between April 12 and April 15.

According to U.S. officials, current intelligence assessments indicate the North Korean missile will be launched from a base called Tongchang-ri, located on a west coast peninsula north of Pyongyang between April 12 and April 15.

~ Snippet…

* A U.S. official said the military’s large, X-band radar that is based on a oil-rig-sized floating platform sailed from Honolulu to waters near Korea on March 26 as part of the activation.

Current U.S. missile defense systems include networks of radar and space tracking gear, including ground- and sea-based radar, Aegis ships, and long-range interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California. A total of 30 three-stage interceptors are deployed.

* U.S. secrecy regarding its missile defense deployments contrasts with Japan’s openness on the issue. Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka on March 23 ordered missile defenses prepared for the North Korean launch. The preparations included Aegis warships and ground-based PAC-3 defenses.

Satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows a parked trailer and dish antenna, top right, near an assembly building at North Korea’s Tongchang-ri launch site. Photo Credit:AP

The North Korean missile’s likely flight path could take it over Okinawa.

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~ This is also being reported by NTI/GSN:

Pictures from Wednesday indicate the North “has undertaken more extensive preparations for its planned April rocket launch than previously understood,” according to the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies’ U.S.-Korea Institute.

Among the developments are the readying of a transportable radar center at the Dongchang-ri launch installation, the institute said. The system would allow engineers to rapidly collect data regarding the functioning of rocket engines and other components.

Containers that have seemingly been depleted of rocket fuel and oxidizing agent can also be seen in satellite pictures.

~ Snippets:

* “These pictures are new and important evidence that the North’s preparations for its rocket launch are progressing according to schedule,” according to institute visiting fellow Joel Wit, who manages its 38 North website on North Korea.

* Representatives from the United States and North Korea were said to have conducted unofficial discussions in Germany during the weekend, AP reported.

* The Japanese military has started deploying land-based Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missile batteries and warships equipped with Aegis antimissile technology to Okinawa and other sectors, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Saturday.

Two naval vessels are sailing to the East China Sea and another to the Sea of Japan. The three vessels are all loaded with Standard Missile 3 interceptors.

Both Japan and South Korea have said they are prepared to fire on the rocket, or falling components, if their respective territories are threatened (Asahi Shimbun I, March 31).

* Officials from the 10-state Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Monday noted their own concerns about the situation, AFP reported.

“There is a real concern on the development in the Korean Peninsula,” ASEAN head Surin Pitsuwan said following a meeting in Cambodia of top diplomats from member nations to the organization.

A rocket firing would be “unacceptable” and a breach of Security Council measures, according to Philippines Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario.

* Heads of state from the ASEAN countries are expected to consider the issue at a two-day meeting set to begin on Tuesday in Phnom Penh.

“ASEAN has expressed very, very serious concern but in what language it will come out, I don’t know. We have to wait and see,” Surin said (Agence France-Presse II/ Channel News Asia, April 2).

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