[News Today] HOW U.S IS HELPING SOUTH KOREA PROTECT ITSELF FROM NORTH KOREA?
The United States and South Korea have been in a security alliance since the 1950 53 Korean War.
Let us analyze how US is helping South Korea to counter the ever more aggressive North Korea.
United States Forces Korea (USFK) is a sub-unified command of United States Pacific Command.
Major USFK elements include Eighth U.S. Army, U.S. Air Forces Korea (Seventh Air Force), U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), U.S. Marine Forces Korea and Special Operations Command Korea.
More than 28,000 US troops are stationed in South Korea.
These troops are located in about 85 bases spread throughout the country.
The ground forces are currently in ready state.
Presence of U.S. ground forces in the region is a key demonstration of the U.S. government’s continued support to South Korea.
AIR TO AIR & AIR TO GROUND MISSILE
U.S. Department of State has recently cleared $140 million worth of missiles for South Korea’s military.
The sales are divided into two lots, each worth an estimated $70 million.
The first lot covers 60 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II along with its supporting equipment.
The missile fired from fighter jets is designed to take down enemy aircrafts.
It is supersonic missile with a speed of 2.7 Mach and has range of 26 km or 16 miles.
The second lot covers 89 AGM-65G-2 and its support elements.
The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile (AGM) designed for close air support. It is effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation and fuel storage facilities.
It has range of around 22 km (12 nmi) and speed of 1,150 km/hr.
These missiles will add teeth to South Korea’s air wing.
The Pentagon revealed this week that U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighters are operating in South Korea for the first time, as they participate in joint training exercises with the Republic of Korea’s military. The 8 planes are from a squadron of F-35Bs deployed to Iwakuni, Japan in January, where they will be permanently stationed and on call to respond quickly if a crisis occurs on the Korean Peninsula.
The Korean Peninsula is not a big place. The distance between the South Korean capital of Seoul and the North Korean capital of Pyongyang is only 120 miles. An F-35 can cover that distance in less than ten minutes and it can’t be tracked by any of the air defense systems available to the North Korean regime.
South Korea is also planning to acquire 40 of the Air Force variants between 2018 and 2021.
USS CARL VINSON STRIKE GROUP:
USS Carl Vinson is one of the most powerful weapons platform in the world, being 3 football fields long, having a displacement of 100000 tonnes, and is capable of carrying more than 60 strike aircrafts.
It must be noted that, USS Carl Vinson is not alone, but it leads the US Navy Carrier Strike Group One.
It is accompanied by other vessels including an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG 108). Arleigh Burke class is considered to be one of the most potent destroyers in the world.
It is also expected to be accompanied by 1 or 2 nuclear strike capable ballistic missile submarines like the Ohio class.
THAAD ANTI MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM:
United States has deployed the THAAD in South Korea and is operational now.
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD, is an anti-ballistic missile system, which is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase. THAAD uses a hit-to-kill approach that is the missile carries no warhead, but relies on the kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile.
A THAAD battery consists of at least 6 launcher vehicles, each equipped with 8 missiles, with 2 mobile Tactical Operations Centers (TOCs) and the AN TPY-2 Ground-Based Radar (GBR).
The THAAD Radar is an X Band active electronically scanned array Radar developed and built by Raytheon.
It has an Operational range of around 200 km. The missile has a speed of 8.24 Mach or 2.8 km/s.
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