US Readies Missile Defence After North Korea Threats – But Can We Stop Them?

Missile Defence

If North Korea is stupid enough to launch a missile at us, multiple systems would go into action in an effort to destroy the missiles before they can reach any targets. The U.S., South Korea and Japan all have preemptive strike plans for a situation in which a North Korean nuclear attack appears imminent.

The U.S. has ground-based midcourse defense systems, intended to intercept any incoming ballistic warheads while they are still in space. These systems have been placed in both Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

South Korea said the 4 missiles by North Korea last month were unlikely to have been intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). They flew about 1,000 kilometres and reached an altitude of 260 kilometres. Some landed as close as 300 kilometres from Japan’s northwest coast, Japan’s defence minister said earlier.

South Korean intelligence officials said that the four North Korean missiles appeared to be an upgraded version of the Scud type.

Last month U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris said, “Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea.”

BBC reported that the U.S. began the process of deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery to South Korea known as THAAD- a defense mechanism employs kinetic energy to destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles near the end of the missile’s flight. THAAD has a range of more than 650,000 feet and can reach an altitude of more than 492,000 feet.

The U.S. and South Korea also have a joint response plan, Operations Plan (OPLAN). While the specifics for OPLAN 5015 are classified, it is suspected to call for preemptive strikes on the North’s essential military facilities and weapons, and possibly North Korean leadership.

Last year the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said that the U.S. could move to “take out launch capabilities on the launchpad” if North Korea appeared poised to launch a nuclear-armed missile.

But can we stop short range missiles launched from a submarine off our coast? It’s estimated that NK has 70 submarines some of which are capable of launching missiles

And just last week there was a scare after a possible submarine was sighted of the California coast.

What do you think, are we safe from North Korea missiles?

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