Coinciding with the latest series of North Korean missile launches on 6th March, the first elements of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system — including two missile launchers — arrived in the Republic of Korea (ROK). An official land transfer agreement regarding the future site for the THAAD installation was finalized in late February.
The activity follows the announcement by the Pentagon in July last year that the U.S. and South Korean governments had agreed to deploy a THAAD missile system on the Korean peninsula to defend the ROK against North Korean missile threats. The announcement drew protests from China, which considers the THAAD deployment as a threat to Chinese missiles, despite U.S. assurances that the THAAD system's single-stage interceptors would not have the range or capability to intercept Chinese ICBMs targeting the U.S.
A release from U.S. Forces Korea, which will operate the system, said that work would continue to operationalize THAAD as quickly as possible.
According to local media reports, the radar system is expected to arrive in South Korea this month.
Each THAAD battery consists of six truck-mounted launchers, 48 interceptors, a fire control and communications unit, and an AN/TPY-2 radar.