US Military Plans For $1 Billion Missile Defense Radar In Hawaii Amid Peace Talks With North Korea

Hanna Bogorowski | Reporter

The U.S. Military is planning to install missile defense radar in Hawaii to identify ballistic missiles that are fired from North Korea or any other threatening state.

The nearly $1 billion project would provide information to the ground-based interceptors stationed in Alaska that shoot them down. By detecting warheads on incoming missiles, the radar would give the Alaskan interceptors “better eyes,”  Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii told Military.com.

Schatz, who serves on the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said $61 million has been appropriated so far for planning, but none yet for construction. Schatz feels confidently that the funding will be given.

The radar would be 30 to 50 feet wide and 60 to 80 feet high, and will likely have a flat surface rather than a ball-shape, which military experts say more precisely distinguishes between warheads and decoys, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The system would be able to detect missiles aimed at Hawaii as well as other U.S. states, which comes after reports that North Korea is ramping up improvements to one of its key nuclear research sites. (RELATED: North Korea Improving A Key Nuclear Research Facility At ‘Rapid Pace’)

President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, where the two signed an agreement in which Kim vowed to work to denuclearize his state.

So far, there has been no clear indication that Kim will completely denuclearize or end nuclear research, but negotiations have technically not yet begun.

Trump also declared in Singapore an end to the “war games” in South Korea, but the Pentagon similarly announced plans to upgrade missile defense systems on the Korean peninsula.

“We absolutely hope that diplomacy is successful, but at the same time we must remain vigilant to provide the capability that’s needed,” Air Force Lieutenant General Sam Greaves told MSN on Tuesday.

The Department of Defense is planning to strengthen the missile interceptor known as Thaad as well as Patriot surface-to-air (SAM) missile system.

The Senate approved of a $716 billion defense bill, formerly the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA), which approves some hundreds of millions of dollars for such improvements.

China has repeatedly called for the removal of the Thaad system from the Korean peninsula, saying its highly advanced radar and ability to target short and long-range missiles threatens their security, but the added funds will only increase its development.

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