By Debbie Gregory.
The U.S. and our allies across the Pacific are taking every precaution to protect South Korea from the North Korean nuclear threat.
To that end, the U.S. Army’s 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade has been engaged in an eight-month exercise to modernize its Patriot missile defense system charged with protecting Osan Air base.
The modernization effort was the result of a collaborative effort between the 35th Brigade, contractors from Raytheon, and the Lower Tier Project.
For nearly forty years, the Patriot missile defense system has protected the airspace above U.S. forces. Continuously upgraded since introduction, today it protects against the full spectrum of flying threats, from ballistic missiles to consumer-grade quadcopter drones. In fact, since January of 2015, Patriot has intercepted more than 100 ballistic missiles in combat operations around the world,” according to Raytheon.
According to the Army, work will continue to done in the coming months to fortify Army bases on the Korean peninsula against the growing threat of North Korean aggression.
Though Kim Jong-un has not publicly stated any plans to launch missiles at its enemy to the south, his regime recently made a threat to launch a nuclear missile at Guam in advance of a joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States.
On August 29th, Japan’s Air Force demonstrated a Patriot missile-defense system at Yokota in Western Tokyo, just hours after a North Korean missile flew over Hokkaido.
“Bilateral engagements like this one demonstrate the enduring strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the determination of both our nations to address the security challenge posed by North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, commander of U.S. Forces Japan.
Raytheon has built more than 220 Patriot fire units and delivered them to customers in 13 nations.