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U.S. Bolsters Missile-Defense Presence in Japan

The U.S. is bolstering its ability to intercept ballistic missiles fired from North Korea with the deployment of another missile-defense radar in central Japan.

In a joint announcement on Friday, the U.S. and Japanese governments said a second so-called Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system, or AN/TPY-2, made by Raytheon Co. has been installed on the island nation.

The announcement follows discussions last year between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe involving deployment of the technology that drew opposition from China.

The mobile unit is based in Kyogamisaki in the central part of the country, complementing an existing system already located Shariki in northern Japan. The Kyogamisaki site is believed to be ideal for such purposes because any short- or medium-range missile launched from North Korea against American military defenses in Guam or Hawaii would probably fly over the region.

The high-resolution, X-band, phased-array radar can track all classes of ballistic missiles at various points in their trajectories, according to a fact sheet from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

It can provide precise tracking information to any number of missile-defense batteries, including the truck-mounted Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, systems in the Pacific and the Middle East; the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System; or the Ground-based Mid-course Defense System in Alaska and California.

The radar itself is composed of four mobile components: an antenna unit, an electronics unit, a cooling unit and a prime power unit, according to information from the manufacturer. The system can be transported in such cargo planes as the C-5 and C-17, as well as in ships, railroad cars and trucks.

The Army, which has already purchased five of the radars, had previously planned to purchase as many as 18 of the units, though that number was reduced amid automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Last year, each was budgeted to cost about $173 million, according to budget documents.

The defense budget for fiscal 2015, which began Oct. 1, included almost $50 million for the radar system. Specifically, the funding would buy "long lead Transmit/Receive Integrated Microwave Modules (TRIMMs) for the Float Antenna Equipment Unit (AEU) and one Electronic Equipment Unit (EEU) Modification Kit," the documents state.

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