New York – The U.S. has deployed high-tech radar to keep watch for a potential North Korean long-range-missile launch in the coming months.
It is the first U.S. military response to Pyongyang’s claim that it could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The sea-based X-band radar (SB-X) is able to track the long-range launches and provide crucial data, according to U.S. Department of State officials reported the CNN.
The radar, whose home port is in Hawaii, has deployed several times in the past to monitor North Korean missile activity.
However, it can only remain at sea for a certain, undisclosed, period of time, so military officials try to calculate the most significant times, the official said.
Generally, the SB-X is sent north of Hawaii and stationed about halfway to Alaska for the optimum spot to track a potential North Korean missile launch headed for Alaska, Guam or the West Coast of the United States.
Additional surveillance assets are being identified to monitor activity on the Korean Peninsula, but the official declined to discuss any details.
Defense officials are emphasising that if North Korea were to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, it might not be shot down by a U.S. missile defense system.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter had warned on Tuesday: “If the missile’s threatening, it will be intercepted.
“If it’s not threatening, we won’t necessarily do so.
“It may be more to our advantage to, first of all, save our interceptor inventory, and, second, to gather intelligence from the flight rather than do that (shoot it down) when it’s not threatening”.
Also, we remained ready to confront security challenges anywhere in the world.
The Pentagon also warned its adversaries to take heed, saying that it stands ready to confront any security challenges against it from anywhere in the world before, during and after the transition from outgoing President Barack Obama to incoming President Donald Trump.
Carter stressed, “the department’s Senior Leadership Council, which includes leaders of the combatant commands and the services, met Wednesday to discuss how we will ensure vigilance in the weeks and months ahead.
“The meeting was another reminder that while the world did not rest for the transition here in Washington, neither would the Department of Defence.
“Americans and their friends around the world can have confidence, and our adversaries should take heed, that the U.S. military is full speed ahead in the coming weeks and months.”
The SB-X radar will increase the U.S. ability to collect that type of missile data.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un recently said the test launch of an ICBM is in its final stages.
U.S. officials continue to say they do not believe the North Koreans have mastered the technology needed for the missile to re-enter the atmosphere, according to reports.
There have been launches of three-stage long-range rockets with a satellite on the front end being boosted into space.
The two technologies are very similar, but it is re-entry of the warhead that has not yet been demonstrated, U.S. officials said.