The AN/TPY-2 tracking radar bound for Japan is not likely to come from the Army's existing Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) batteries, says Col. James Jenkins, deputy commander for operations at Army Space and Missile Defense Command.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced a second Raytheon AN/TPY-2 would be placed in Japan, one of several responses from the U.S. to threats from North Korea of long-range missile attack. Along with an extra TPY-2 for missile tracking, the Pentagon plans to add 14 more Ground Based Midcourse Defense interceptors at Ft. Greely, Alaska in Fiscal 2017. This will bring the total GMD interceptor magazine to 44.
Already, the first radar has been placed in Shariki. The second will provide a different view of the flight corridor from North Korea to the U.S. and its territories.
The Missile Defense Agency says the TPY-2 will not come from one of its deployed locations, including Israel, Qatar or Turkey, for example. But, the Army only has two fielded Thaad batteries, at least one of which is being called to action in Guam for area defense of U.S. forces there.
Jenkins says that enough TPY-2s are in the pipeline to fulfill the new Japanese mission without jeopardizing the Army's plans of fielding six full Thaad batteries.
He made his comments April 9 during a government affairs breakfast at the 29th National Space Symposium.