U.S. armed forces to upgrade Patriot system in South Korea

SEOUL, Aug. 3 (UPI) — The U.S. secretary of the army said the U.S. armed forces in Korea plan to upgrade the Patriot system to better defend Seoul.

The replacement is to take place by 2018, Yonhap reported.

“Right now, we are focusing on upgrading the Patriot system that we have here in Korea,” Eric Fanning said during an interview at Osan Air Base when he hinted the replacement could take place by the end of 2018.

The Patriot Advanced Capability interceptor is to be deployed in the Seoul metropolitan area. The system is currently located in Osan, outside Seoul, and under the operation of the 35th Air Defense Artillery.

The 35th Air Defense Artillery is also to be responsible for the operation of the U.S. anti-missile defense system THAAD.

THAAD is to be deployed in late 2017, but the residents of Seongju, the town near the site of deployment, have been consistently opposed to the measure.

South Korea media reported there is a possibility the system could be the latest model, or the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement.

There are currently 64 PAC-2 and PAC-3 systems at various U.S. military bases in South Korea.

Fanning also said the United States and South Korea are looking into other defense options aside from THAAD and Patriot missiles.

There was some public opposition to THAAD deployment and in order to allay fears of radiation from electromagnetic waves emanating from the AN/TPY-2 radar, the U.S. Army permitted South Korean reporters to visit Guam to check the level of radiation.

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