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U.S. sends THAAD anti-missile system to Guam after NK threats

by Mike Hoffman on April 3, 2013

Moments after the U.S. announced the deployment of a ballistic missile defense system to Guam, the North Korean Army has reportedly received “final authority” for a nuclear attack against the U.S.

The U.S. military will deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system “in the coming weeks” to the U.S. Pacific territory as a “precautionary move to “strengthen our regional defense posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat,” according to a Pentagon statement.

The U.S. announcements follows a series of nuclear tests and threats from North Korean leadership about an attack on the U.S. and South Korea. The evidence from those tests have left more questions than answers about the level of the North Korean’s nuclear program.

The Pentagon outlined the capabilities of the THAAD system and explained the importance of protecting the U.S. territory from any sort of attack from the North Koreans. That statement is below.

The THAAD system is a land-based missile defense system that includes a truck-mounted launcher, a complement of interceptor missiles, an AN/TPY-2 tracking radar, and an integrated fire control system. This deployment will strengthen defense capabilities for American citizens in the U.S. Territory of Guam and U.S. forces stationed there.

The United States continues to urge the North Korean leadership to cease provocative threats and choose the path of peace by complying with its international obligations. The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and stands ready to defend U.S. territory, our allies, and our national interests.

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Oh man. This is going to be a shoutfest. No nukes are going to be flying towards the stars and stripes. To Guam. Maybe. To Japan and SK, yes. But to the American population. No. So I guess this isn't to bad. From reports I have seen THAAD ain't that bad. 5 fails and 15 success, well, I guess its alright. But even if the missile gets close to an "ICBM" then it will change its trajectory. Almost like a proximity fuse.

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Stan April 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm

They would need one heck of a slingshot to get the nukes anywhere beyond their borders, but I don't thing they have enough rubber.

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wpnexp April 3, 2013 at 10:52 pm

THAAD is only capable against a Theater range missile (IRBM/MRBM) at best. It would not be a good candidate against an ICBM. The SM-3 Blk1b and the GBI are the only real ICBM killers we have. Would be nice if the President hadn't killed that YAL-1A though. That beast can deploy anywhere quickly, loiter for hours and if perfected could shoot them down 30 or 40 missiles (or planes) at a time. Maybe more if they figured out how to refuel the chemicals needed for the laser like we can off-load fuel to planes.

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 12:07 am

As long as you can fly it within 200 miles of the launch location.

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Guest April 4, 2013 at 9:04 am

I believe that 200 mile range is at sea level. I wonder what the range is at 40,000 ft. But I also read that 20 shots is all the ABL will give before the chemicals need to be reconstituted.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 11:05 am

Perhaps. But it was quite accurate. Once again, I say move forward with lasers. Missiles are so, Cold War. Lasers, when perfected, will be cheaper (its more than one shot you know) its kinda hard to "intercept" a laser beam. So yeah. YAL-1 was an excellent idea. But then…. The president and congress step in. Dang.

Badmofo850 April 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm
Badmofo850 April 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm
Badmofo850 April 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm
Badmofo850 April 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm
Badmofo850 April 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm
blight_ April 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

DPRK would need to focus on area denial for the Navy and a ground assault on South Korea. I suppose they could threaten to nuke people if the United States intervenes; and count on the United States' desire to avoid getting innocents nuked combined with a Let-Those-Guys-Do-Their-Own-Fighting to keep this a 1:1 with the ROK. Those are their best odds.

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Benjamin April 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm

"No nukes are going to be flying towards the stars and stripes. To Guam. Maybe. To Japan and SK, yes. But to the American population. No."

Guam is a part of the U.S. and there are citizens who have lived there for many generations.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Okay, what I meant was mainland USA. I just thought that people would be able to tell.

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Taylor April 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Unfortunately, the North Koreans could put them on ships and take them into a harbor, fly them near the border and set them off for an EMP, tunnel them under the DMZ, or give one to the Iranians. Lots of ways to attack other than on a missile, but they would still lose and chubby would have to find a job somewhere else.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm

On the water? Their navy is a "green water" navy. Heck, the coast guard would stop them before anything. They might give it to the Iranians, but then again, NK wants to be known to "shut down" the "merciless imperial Americans". Those invasions tunnels could have a nuke in them. So possibly.

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Joshua April 4, 2013 at 10:08 am
Joshua April 4, 2013 at 10:08 am
USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

We have some tunnels, but it is believed that there are hundreds more under the ground. But I think Bunker-busters and J-Dams will just wipe them out, if we plan on carpet bombing the "DMZ".

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blight_ April 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm

They deliver Scuds, so they obviously have ships that do business somehow.

A nuke won't give you much EMP detonated low-altitude airburst. It needs to be high altitude to interface with the Van Allens.

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Warfighter April 4, 2013 at 6:23 am

Mostly true, but the EMP component needs to be detonated at high altitude for it to be of any real effect. Otherwise, the power of the EMP is mostly contained to the area that suffers the blast effects.

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blight_ April 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm
orly? April 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

It will take several weeks to deploy THAAD.

It takes 15 minutes to bunmoor a US Navy ship.

I think the best thing to do right now is to mobilize a fleet.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm
USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Well, not a fleet, but its a start.

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 2:11 am

It's almost 200 VLS cells. Plenty.

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Guest April 4, 2013 at 9:07 am

I don't think that they're all populated with SM-3's. A large percentage, maybe.

bob April 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm

When did Capt. Dolt Lummox take command of the Big-E? Launch the mooncalf @ NK!

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 12:10 am

I read they are prepping another missile 'test' probably for a mid April launch to go with their original dear leader's birthday. I wonder with the two X band radars being moved and the 2 BMD destroyers if we might shoot this one down. The THAAD deployment is just ramping up ABM on Guam, which we needed anyway.

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Warfighter April 4, 2013 at 6:35 am

My bigger concern with all this rhetoric is that a jumpy grunt somewhere reacts to a perceived threat and unintentionally sets off the flashpoint. Case in point: in 2011, some troop along the DMZ shot at a passenger aircraft, thinking it was a military jet.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Well, that is possible. I do understand that the North and South exchange information on air traffic. But then again, those Norks can be highly unpredictable and violent…

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Musson April 4, 2013 at 8:58 am

I am not suggesting that Kim is unstable, but in the latest photo released by the NORKS,
he is wearing wire rimmed glasses, holding a clipboard and standing next to Colonel Henry
Blake.

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NorthAsh April 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

Well, I just hope that THAAD actually works. Shades of the Patriot farce in Gulf War 1 when they had no effect on incoming Scuds from Saddam, despite the blatant lies.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Indeed. But from I have read, the THADD has had pretty good testing and training records. At least, better than the Patriot.

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tritium April 5, 2013 at 10:44 pm

THAAD is also employs a sophisticated, kinetic, hit-to-kill warhead, which is completely different than the original Patriots used during the first Gulf War.

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STemplar April 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm

The Patriots in gulf war 1 were never intended for anti missile use.

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Benjamin April 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

I hope they do not have to be actually used.

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Thad April 4, 2013 at 10:18 am

My name is Thaddeus so I find this hilarious.

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Rob April 8, 2013 at 9:29 am

Be more concerned about them getting a sub to our east coast. All they have to do is follow the Russian sea boarder across the north pole

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orly? April 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm

And our several decades of tailing Soviet subs taught us nothing?

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blight_ April 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm

On paper, stalking noisy diesels should be easy. I question if their SSK's have the range. If they have SSN's, can they land attack? Do they have SSGN's, or even SSBN's or SSB's?

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Elijah April 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but the LORD pondereth the hearts. To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Who controls the Korean Puppet.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Sir, you have just said the most incorrect statement in a while. WHY would the USAF give missiles to their enemy? ?????! I hope there was sarcasm there. Please. Saying that NK and the US are on "good enough" terms to give each other nukes, then heck. They aren't good enough to give each other blankets.

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Captain Obvious April 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

LOL… USS Enterprise and aCitizen.. please check your reading comprehension.

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Psylunce April 4, 2013 at 1:43 am

probably delivered to DPRK nuclear enrichment facilities via B-52s and B2s of the USAF…

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aCitizen April 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I certainly hope you were being sarcastic.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Holly crap. People don't seem to have liked that previous comment…

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wpnexp April 3, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Hmmmmm, think he was implying that they would go off upon arrival. LOL, got to read into these things.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Wow. Well dang. Sorry folks for that last message. Hmph. -8 after just one hour.

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VetsTeam April 5, 2013 at 1:48 am

@MKH: you should use hit them with nuke because USS ENTERPRISE think that you wanted to transport nuke to NK..

@USS ENTERPRISE: People really loves you :3

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USS ENTERPRISE April 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I though I wrote that in. Dang. 5 people can't read.

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blight_ April 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Could've alluded to Twenty Minute Atmospheric Delivery for the luuuuls.

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aCitizen April 4, 2013 at 11:10 am

Not sure what i didn't comprehend properly? I identified the Sarcasm in the original comment, and was stating to USSENTERPRISE that i hoped he was kidding? Not sure what im missing. Unless Enterprise stated he was kidding and i missed it.

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whatever April 4, 2013 at 1:06 am

not true. I liked it.

now please tell us when did your mental problems start to emerge? (e.g. when you were 18 years old?)

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crackedlenses April 4, 2013 at 2:56 am

First a half-troll and now a psychiatrist. We're doomed.

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 3:16 am

I think it was right around the time I visited the Arabian Gulf.

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TomUK April 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm
whatever April 4, 2013 at 3:28 am

then you should visit the place a few more times.

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 3:35 am

The Arabian Gulf is fun, at least the west side, east side is a hole, almost as bad as the Palestinian territories, my dog's kennel is nicer than Gaza and the West Bank.

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blight_ April 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

We're going to have to divide the fleet's VLS tubes between missile defense, fleet defense and TLAM. Can't leave home without TLAM.

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Didn't say they were. Said 200 is plenty, as in 200 VLS cells.

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blight_ April 4, 2013 at 10:11 am

Literally Next Day Air. ~20 hours in flight?

Though if they have nukes in Guam, it'll be quicker…

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 11:03 am

Man, are you treading in deep waters. Can't wait to see the argument THIS starts.

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whatever April 5, 2013 at 1:59 am

so the east side is only slightly better than your house?

trying not taking any of your psychiatric medications at all. see if your experience would be better and wilder next time.

a few kilos of crack a day wouldn't hurt either. make it a family affair. it's funner if all your family members and relatives do it together.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 11:03 am

I say launch em over there. Those ICBMS are built for something.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 11:07 am

I say hurry up with the Zumwalt. But the way things are escalating, we might not have it for this war.

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Guest April 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm

You get your wish! The Navy Labs is trying to develop the Free-Electron Laser into a megawatt-class weapon. The thing about the FEL is its on-the-fly tuning ability designed to overcome atmospheric attenuation which could lead to a thousand-mile or better kill radius.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Ah yes the UK. Didn't we help you lot in WWII? Without us, you would be goners. Get off your soapbox.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I was kidding. Keep reading my comments.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Well great. Lets just hope it isn't canceled.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Hmm yes. And that is per ship, once again. So just five ships will offer 1,000 missiles cells. Yeah, I would hate to be a North Korean right now. Or ever.

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Nope that's about 200 on the two destroyers together. Dunno which flight the two ships are, it varies. Each Burke is 100ish.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Oh. Well still, 500 isn't exactly small. I was wondering how the destroyers got hyped up from 80-100 launchers to 200. I wonder how many Ticonderogas and Burkes are setting sail in total. We can get a more accurate number of VLSes that are aimed at NK.

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STemplar April 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

2 is plenty to address their missile 'threat'.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Once again true. And a carrier with its own ring of destroyers also add up.

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blight_ April 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Mm. My concern is Zumwalts only carry 20 VLS, and they need to defend themselves.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Well. I currently have a Popular Science magazine (sorry Defense Tech) from October 2012. I am now quoting, "The ship carriers a battery of SM-2 antiaircraft missiles, surface targeting Tomahawks, missile-destroying ESSM interceptors, and vertically launched ASROC antisubmarine torpedoes all distributed among 80 missile cells that line the Zumwalt's hull." Hmph. But then Wikipedia goes on and confirms your thoughts. Perhaps the missile cells all form a total of 20 VLSes? ??! I don't know. But it doesn't matter. The article gives a pretty nice diagram of the original operation to take Inchon and Seoul back in '50. It took 18 days with 6 destroyers, and a carrier and its task force. However, supposedly, just three Zum's, and a carrier group could do the job in 2 days.

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blight_ April 5, 2013 at 12:09 am

From naval-technology.com

"DDG 1000 will have a sensor and weapons suite optimised for littoral warfare and for network-centric warfare. Northrop Grumman has put forward a solution based on a peripheral vertical launch system (PVLS).
The solution consists of 20 four-cell PVLS situated round the perimeter of the deck, rather than the usual centrally located VLS. This would reduce the ship's vulnerability to a single hit."

Navy agrees, 80 VLS tubes.
http://www.navsea.navy.mil/teamships/PEOS_DDG1000

So it's 20×4, not 20×1; which makes more sense.

A tad less than the DDG's, but that's semantics. I just wish the Navy tackled the reload-at-sea-problem as quickly as possible. We can't really do war by driving to port to reload, it just deprives forward units of combat power, and there aren't a lot of VLS ships around to "waste" in transit.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

Okay. Read the comment that is literally above this one.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

Yeah, I get the message.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 5, 2013 at 10:31 am

A tad less. But don't forget the 150mm artillery its packing. Range is far inland, at least for a beach landing. I do agree that the Navy needs a way to reload their VLSes at sea. But do our rivals possess that capability? I mean, 100 Tomahawks equals a bunch of damage. Its kinda like arguing that we need a way to reload aircraft in flight, as after 8-10 missiles, an aircraft is left with its increasingly out-dated machine gun. But the missiles, once again, do some damage.

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STemplar April 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm

How many VLS cells to make TLAM shots were you planning on taking?

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STemplar April 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

My house is awesome thanks.

By the way, referring to crack is a very dated drug to be referencing in your attempts at snide remarks.

In regards to my family we do have fun, as opposed to the families in Gaza and West Bank. Dogs in America are raised and treated better by their owners than children in Gaza and the West Bank.

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JamalTheBanker April 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I agree with your stance on most issues, BUT, your comments remind me why I hate reading comment sections on blogs.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Oh great, an impostor.

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