U.S. to deploy four more THAAD air defense missile launchers in South Korea

South Korea's defense ministry announced Monday that the US Forces Korea will soon install four more THAAD missile defense launchers at its new southern base, local media stated on Sept. 4. The announcement came as the environment ministry accepted the results of an environmental impact survey of the THAAD system partially operational at the former golf course in Seongju, some 300 kilometers south of Seoul.

U to deploy four more THAAD air defense missile launchers in South Korea
Two THAAD launchers being unloaded at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, in March 2017
(Credit: US Forces Korea)

Two THAAD missile launchers are in operation there, with four others waiting for deployment.

"The remaining launchers will soon be tentatively deployed through South Korea-US consultations in order to counter North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats," the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

The government launched the small-scale environmental study late last year.

It plans to carry out an additional environmental survey of the THAAD site before making the final decision on the controversial THAAD deployment issue.

Local residents have fiercely protested it, claiming the former Park Geun-hye administration made a hasty decision on the deployment of the US weapon system without the due domestic procedures.

The THAAD (theatre high-altitude area defence) missile system is an easily transportable defensive weapon system to protect against hostile incoming threats such as tactical and theatre ballistic missiles at ranges of 200km and at altitudes up to 150km.

Each THAAD system is comprised of five major components: interceptors, launchers, a radar, a fire control unit and THAAD-specific support equipment. THAAD is the only missile defense system with the operational flexibility to intercept in both the endo- and exo-atmospheres to provide versatile capability to the warfighter.