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Pentagon says interceptor deployment is "just in case" type rollout

In recent months an increasingly bellicose North Korea has defiantly tested intercontinental ballistic missilesblew up trial nuclear warheadsscrapped a sixty-year-old armistice with the U.S. and its southern neighbor, and -- most recently -- restarted a mothballed nuclear reactor used in production of material for nuclear weapons.

As the threats from North Korea increase, the U.S. has deployed a truck-based, radar-driven interceptor missile system to Guam.  According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the system will protect the island territory of the U.S. if North Korea attempts to attack it with a ballistic missile, as threatened.  The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAADS) fires on a target rocket when it's in its terminal descent phase, plunging towards the defended territory.

The THAADS system is produced by top defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT).

The U.S. has deployed the THAADS interceptor trucks to Guam. 
[Image Source: Lockheed Martin]

While U.S. defense experts doubt North Korea would be able to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear missile, Guam -- 2,000 away from the hostile Asian dictatorship -- might be a slightly more feasible target.  Both South Korea and Japan have extensive interceptor systems, which are likely on high alert.

U.S. ally Israel provided the most impressive real-world demonstration of a missile-interception system to date.  Its "Iron Dome" system shot down approximately 9 out of 10 missiles that were headed towards a populated region.  Past interceptor systems used in the Persian Gulf conflicts by the U.S. had lower success rates.

Ballistic missile interception is a more unproven art.  Ballistic missiles are bigger (and hence a bigger target), but are also generally faster than the kind of small rockets Iron Dome or Patriot-missile (U.S.) interceptor systems target. Israel has an interceptor system of its own dubbed Arrow, which the U.S. co-founded and shares technology from.  Fortunately, that system has never been called upon in a real war scenario.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

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RE: 9 out of 10 ?
By othercents on 4/4/2013 8:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
In retaliation, North Korea would cease to exist as the country it is today and the government there knows that it would be the end for them. We know that, and they know that we know that. That's why they'll never actually carry out a nuclear attack on South Korea or anywhere else, regardless of all the threats.

The only issue with this is the leader doesn't seam to be level headed. He wants us to back down, so he can say to his people he won, but in reality it is his people that will lose.

RE: 9 out of 10 ?
By PrinceGaz on 4/4/2013 1:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
The only issue with this is the leader doesn't seam to be level headed. He wants us to back down, so he can say to his people he won, but in reality it is his people that will lose.

He's got advisers who know the game that they're playing, as they've played it often enough before. If Kim Jong-un doesn't follow the rules this time (which involves some sort of symbolic agreement brokered by China, which is quite meaningless in reality but allows him to claim some sort of victory to his people) then his generals will likely remove him from power, before Kim Jong-un does something stupid which will remove them all from power permanently.

RE: 9 out of 10 ?
By Techslave on 4/5/2013 11:27:32 AM , Rating: 3
Kim has run multiple simulations on the Atari 2600. The missiles destroyed all 6 cities each time.

RE: 9 out of 10 ?
By Stuka on 4/5/2013 11:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
The whole things is dumb. His country is embargoed and isolated and everything is filtered before entering the country. Why can't he just tell his people "I was all like, 'Bitch please', and the US was all like, 'Sorry bro.'" They will believe him 'cos he is a god, and he never has to involve the rest of the world. No one will ever know.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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