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Washington to Focus on Upgrading Patriot Anti-Missile Systems in South Korea

© Flickr / U.S. Missile Defense AgencyPATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Anti-Missile System
PATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Anti-Missile System - Sputnik International
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Washington will concentrate on upgrading its Patriot PAC-2 air defense systems in South Korea to PAC-3 systems.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States will focus on upgrading its Patriot PAC-2 air defense systems in South Korea to PAC-3 systems to better protect the country from possible North Korean missiles, US Army Secretary Eric Fanning told reporters at the US Air Force's Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on Tuesday.

"Right now we're focused on upgrading the Patriot system that we have here in [South] Korea," Fanning said as quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

South Korean media previously reported that the US military planned to upgrade the PAC-2 with more advanced PAC-3 systems by 2018. Fanning on Tuesday said he saw the potential for upgrades, but did not confirm the reports.

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The PAC-2, first deployed during Operation Desert Shield in 1990, was the first ballistic missile defense system to intercept a ballistic missile during war. Its successor, the PAC-3, is more advanced and has an over 90 percent interception rate.

In July, the US Department of Defense announced it would deploy the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) anti-missile in South Korea to counter the threat from Pyongyang.

Fanning told reporters on Tuesday that US and South Korean officials had discussed other options to protect the capital.

The THAAD system is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at the terminal incoming stage. The system's potential deployment on the Korean Peninsula has caused concern in North Korea, as well as China and Russia.

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