Monday, May 11, 2009

The Other Missile Defense

THE OTHER MISSILE DEFENSE
by Bruce Gagnon
Global Network

While in Korea for our Global Network annual conference last month we were taken to Pyeongtaek where the US is dramatically expanding a military base. There we were shown nearly a dozen mobile PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability) launchers parked just beyond the razor-wired fence. We also learned more about the US deployments of the PAC-3 "missile defense" system throughout Japan.


Lockheed Martin describes their PAC-3 system as "the world’s most advanced, capable and powerful terminal air defense missile. It defeats the entire threat: tactical ballistic missiles carrying weapons of mass destruction, cruise missiles and aircraft. The PAC-3 Missile is a high velocity interceptor that defeats incoming targets by direct, body-to-body [kinetic] impact."

The PAC-3 system, along with THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system, are the new "layered look" for the Pentagon's missile defense program. The mobile THAAD, designed to shoot down short-and medium-range ballistic missiles, are also being heavily deployed in Japan and South Korea along with PAC-3 in order to serve as key elements of US military strategy aimed at China.

Add the Navy's Aegis destroyer, also outfitted with missile defense interceptors and being deployed in the Asian-Pacific region, into the scheme and you get the full picture of this theater-wide program to take out "the enemy" retaliatory missiles after a US first-strike attack.

In addition to Lockheed Martin, the Raytheon Company, based in Tewksbury, MA., also plays a key role in building PAC-3.


The PAC-3 program is coordinated for the Pentagon by the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.


Currently the US is deploying the PAC-3 in South Korea, Japan, Iraq, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Kuwait, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, and Israel. The Pentagon has also recently signed a deal to deploy PAC-3 in Poland.

Turkey has also recently shown interest in acquiring a similar system but has been talking with competitors of the US weapons industry about buying the technology from them. However, Washington has been pressuring Ankara to consider potential "NATO interoperability problems" that could occur should Turkey opt for a non-Western solution. Subtle arm twisting you might say.

The Hamamatsu City, Japan Human Rights and Peace group (pictured above) has been organizing to protest the deployment of PAC-3 at a base near their community. In one of their reports they say, "In a real battle, PAC-3 is used under the united-command of Japan and the US which now rules the space. Such usage of PAC-3 is in violation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution which prohibits collective defense and warfare. It is true that the real target of PAC-3 is Article 9. We are living in such a dangerous situation. However, to change our time from one of global war to one of global peace, we would like to learn from history and pursue such movements as to prevent Hamamatsu from becoming a military stronghold ever again."


Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)

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