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Radars To Detect North Korean Missiles Often Break Down For Days At A Time

REUTERS/James Pearson

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

Key South Korean radar units that detect incoming ballistic missiles have broken down numerous times over the past few years, reports the Yonhap News Agency.

System glitches have caused two Green Pine radar units in South and North Chungcheong provinces to stop working 21 times in a three-year period, defense ministry data shows. One of the units has broken down 13 times since July 2013, and the other has malfunctioned eight times since then.

While short-term radar issues are troublesome, these two radar units crashed for up to nine days at a time.

South Korea faces ballistic missile threats from a country that regularly promises to deliver complete and utter annihilation and missile detection and interception capabilities are essential. Radar failures cause gaps in the defense system, leaving it vulnerable to attack.

North Korea claims that it now has the ability to produce nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles and has threatened to “reduce Seoul to ashes.”

The radar malfunctions were reportedly caused by condensation inside the radar antennae.

The South Korean military said it is aware of the problem and is working to develop a solution.

Officials reported that the radar units installed on the Aegis destroyers also monitor North Korean ballistic missiles, suggesting that temporary radar failures may have had a limited impact on South Korea’s missile defense system.

The military is using air conditioners to prevent condensation build-up. “By next year, we plan to buy ‘radomes’ to cover the radars and permanently solve the condensation problem,” an official told Yonhap reporters.

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