The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) plans to temporarily deploy Patriot missile defense batteries to U.S. installations in Japan for the next two weeks as practice for responding to North Korean missile threats, U.S. Forces Japan said last Friday.
The bases that will support the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) batteries for one-day deployments include Yokota Air Base, Misawa Air Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. Training will occur at Yokota and Iwakuni on Aug. 29 and Misawa on Sept. 7.
The U.S. Defense Department said the deployments aim to test the interoperability of U.S. and Japanese forces while also allowing for on-site assessments of firing locations. This exercise will also provide JASDF the chance to test rapid deployment of the air defense assets.
“Bilateral engagements like this one demonstrate the enduring strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the determination of both our nations to address the security challenge posed by North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs,” Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, said in a statement. “
We welcome these training deployments and look forward to working with our Japanese partners to make them a success” he added.
Earlier this month Japan said it discussed plans to increase its missile defense systems with U.S. officials. This includes acquiring new assets beyond its existing PAC-3 and Aegis destroyers with a possible Aegis Ashore and additional Aegis ships (Defense Daily, Aug. 18).
Lockheed Martin [LMT] produces the PAC-3 missiles while Raytheon [RTN] produces the overall Patriot missile defense system
Separately, on Friday U.S. Pacific Command tracked three North Korean ballistic missile launches. Early department assessments called them short-range ballistic missiles with the first and three failing in flight and the second “appears to have blown up almost immediately,” Pacific Command said in a statement.
The Defense Department noted the missiles posed no threat to North America or Guam that Pacific Command “stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan.”