US Allies Can Shoot Down Missiles From North Korea

Things are heated on the Korean peninsula, and while there's plenty of talk from the North about launching a "cutting edge strike" on the United States, America and its allies are far from defenseless.

"The United States maintains an array of forward deployed missile defense capabilities in the Republic of Korea," Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, a defense spokesperson told Business Insider. "The Republic of Korea also has significant missile defense capabilities. While I can't disclose further operational details, I can tell you that we and our allies are well postured to defend against North Korean provocations."

South Korea and Japan currently have the Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target system, better known as the PATRIOT. It's a highly mobile system that can be set up in under one hour.

First designed for an anti-aircraft role in the late 1970s, the Patriot was later modified to defend against ballistic missiles. With a radar that can pick up incoming missiles more than 60 miles away and armed with a high-explosive warhead, it's designed to launch missiles that detonate and produce shrapnel when it gets close to a threat, according to PBS.

The PATRIOT system was used extensively during the first Gulf War against Iraqi SCUD missiles, with varying degrees of success. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, however, they worked extremely well.

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