The U.S. has deployed a high-tech radar system to keep an eye on the reclusive North Korea’s long-range missile developments.
As the first U.S. response since Kim Jong-un claimed his country is close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Pentagon deployed a Sea-Based X-band Radar (SB-X) to monitor North Korean activities, reports CNN, citing a U.S. defense official.
The U.S. has deployed the SB-X, which holds its home port in Hawaii, several times; however, it can only be deployed for limited time periods.
The SB-X is generally sent out only when a situation warrants its deployment.
The SB-X is one of the largest and most advanced phased-array X-band radar systems in the world. The radar system has the ability to differentiate between hostile missiles and non-threatening ones, as well as gather valuable data on enemy missiles.
The radar system will monitor North Korean missile threats to U.S. targets in Asia and the West Coast of the U.S. and will be stationed around 1,000 miles off the Korean peninsula.
North Korea has made three ICBM threats in January.
“We have reached the final stage of preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Kim said in his New Year’s address, adding that, “Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing.”
“The ICBM will be launched anytime and anywhere,” the Korean Central News Agency (KNCA) said Sunday, quoting a North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson.
“Soon our ICBM will send the shiver down [America’s] spine,” the Rodong Sinmun said Wednesday.
U.S. officials and experts believe that the North Koreans have not yet developed a suitable re-entry vehicle for an operational ICBM. Furthermore, the Department of State claims that the North does not, despite its claims, have the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile.
Nonetheless, the U.S. is determined to remain vigilant in the face of frequent North Korean threats.
The U.S. will intercept and shoot down a North Korean ballistic missile “if it were coming towards our territory or the territory of our friends and allies,” Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Sunday.
While there is a debate over the reliability of some of America’s ground-based interceptors, defense officials are “confident” in America’s ability to counter threats from North Korea.
President-elect Donald Trump has said North Korea will not be permitted to test an ICBM, claiming that “it won’t happen.”
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