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U.S. to Announce Japanese Site for Second Anti-Missile Radar

The U.S. today will announce the location of the deployment of another precision-tracking, mobile missile defense radar in Japan, part of a new defense strategic alliance, according to a U.S. official.

The second Raytheon Co.-built AN/TPY-2 mobile radar will be operational by next year at the Kyogamisaki military base in central Japan, according to the U.S. defense official who can’t be named according to government policy.

Japan took delivery of its first missile defense radar in 2006, which is located at Shariki military base on the northern part of Honshu and operated by U.S. troops.

The deployment comes as tensions on the neighboring Korean peninsula remain high, after North Korea tested its third nuclear device in February. The U.S. and South Korea yesterday agreed on a strategy aimed at combating the North’s nuclear threat while a U.S. research group said there are further signs that operations have resumed at the North’s reactor at Yongbyon, a facility capable of producing enough plutonium to make one nuclear bomb a year.

Missile Tracking

The AN/TPY-2 radar, which is also deployed to Turkey, is designed to work in tandem with U.S. satellites to detect a missile launch from a country such as North Korea, according to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It provides initial tracking after a missile reaches space, feeding U.S. sensors monitoring its flight across the Pacific to prepare for an intercept using ground-based missiles in Alaska and California along with Japan, if headed toward the nation.

The radar would feed information to U.S. and Japanese Aegis-class missile defense destroyers for intercepts.

The radar “is important for ballistic missile defense for both nations,” U.S. Forces Japan commander Lieutenant General Sam Angelella told reporters in Tokyo yesterday, without disclosing an announcement was forthcoming.

“That’s why it’s kind of on a fast timeline,” he said generally of a second radar deployment. “It’s important for the U.S. homeland defense, situational awareness and the defense of Japan.”

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