South Korea Unveils Plan To Strike North Korean Missile Launchers

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Originally appeared at Zero Hedge

North Korea launched its Hwasong-15 ICBM into the waters west of Japan at 3:17 am local time on Wednesday. Barely six minutes later, South Korean artillery, air force, and Navy sprang into action and began firing missiles into the waters off eastern Korea – yet another military show of force meant to intimidate the North into ceasing its missile strikes.

The retaliatory display was calibrated to target a spot in the waters off the Korean peninsula that was exactly as far away as Pyongsong, a town about 20 miles north of Pyongyang where the Hwasong 15 was reportedly launched. The distance was meant to signify that the South Korean military could destroy the North’s missile launchers if it chose to do so, the Wall Street Journal.

South Korea Unveils Plan To Strike North Korean Missile Launchers

But while the precision strike probably impressed any bystanders who were watching, in reality, the South’s technology for detecting and responding to North Korean missile launches is still unreliable.

But detecting missile tests is an imperfect science, involving misses as well as hits. In a conflict situation, North Korea is likely to take more steps to conceal its movements, for instance by deploying decoy launchers, said Yang Uk, senior defense researcher at the Korea Defense and Security Forum, a Seoul think tank.

In such a scenario, the likelihood falls that South Korean, U.S. or Japanese forces would pinpoint the exact launch site, Mr. Yang said. Still, he viewed the South’s response to the missile test as a success, especially considering the short time the military needed to return fire.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led U.N. Command in Korea said no U.S. or other forces participated in the response.

“What we saw Wednesday was an active response to a North Korean missile launch that South Korea calls its ‘kill chain’ system’,” Mr. Yang said. The kill chain is part of a larger defense system designed to pre-emptively strike the North’s missile systems in the case of a nuclear attack.

South Korea this year installed a U.S.-operated Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense antimissile battery that can shoot down short- and medium-range missiles, complementing its Patriot PAC-2 antiballistic missile system.

The new battery has a longer-range, but it can’t cover the whole country.

A retired senior South Korean military official said that the South lacks a military satellite that can watch the North, although US and Japanese satellites share images with South Korean officials in real time.

Meanwhile, analysts said North Korean officials install devices onto missiles that generate signals and send them to ground-based control towers. The South has a way to tap into these signals and track the missiles, they said.

South Korea Unveils Plan To Strike North Korean Missile Launchers

But in a real missile launch targeting a South Korean, Japanese or U.S. city, the North Koreans may choose not to install them, said Jo Dong-joon, deputy director of the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University. This means that the South might have no way to track a hostile missile, Mr. Jo said.

The retired military official also noted that the South has a network of human intelligence in the North that may have tipped off Seoul officials about this week’s launch. He declined to give further details, citing security concerns.

Details on the South’s spy network in the North remain murky, but local media have reported in recent months that the South has lost most of its human network in North Korea in recent years.

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  • as

    Should the NK decided to nuke off SK there’s simply no viable counterplan to fend off or deter the NK nuclear warhead due to it’s close vicinity while Japan could somehow prepare a good defensive posture due to NK limited ground launch site though a nuclear detonation in it’s exclusive economic zone would unfortunately upset their economy as well as sent a massive panic that will or may force Japanese govt to distance itself from USA alliance. Sure the trio ‘axis of evil’ China and Russia would be in quite a deep losses in such scenario however ‘Korea’ will literary wiped off the map and there just no good exit strategy for USA in such scenario.
    SK should decides itself whether that it’s ‘ally’ USA taking the SK possible losses in lives and materials seriously into it’s concerns or they are deemed to be suitable tradeoff in a scenario where they may damage a tens or twenty years of lasting damage to two of it’s bigger rivals.

  • VGA

    Do something you pussies. A few more years and N.Korea will actually have usable nuclear weapons. Now is the time to topple the N.Korean regime.

    • FlorianGeyer

      I see that you are a supporter of the ‘ Zionist Libtarded ‘ school of strategy that always fail to consider the unintended consequence’s of war VGA.

    • Barba_Papa

      They already have them, smartass. Attack them now and Seoul vanishes. Do you really think SK will relish being the sacrificial lamb so the US and Japan can be safe?

      • VGA

        They do not have nuclear-tipped missiles yet. But they will in a few short years.

        • World_Eye

          hah so funny if they had no nukes the US would have been inside in NK already. The only think that stops US to enter NK is that they Have Nukes,it is obviously that you don;t know shit VGA

          • VGA

            If it wasn’t for China, North Korea would have been invaded long ago.

  • Barba_Papa

    >>The retired military official also noted that the South has a network of human intelligence in the North that may have tipped off Seoul officials about this week’s launch. He declined to give further details, citing security concerns.<<

    Or……., there is no network and this is just an attempt to have the Norks go berserk on their own to find spies that don't exist. It would be a supreme act of trolling.