New radar satellite images show the Sept. 3 nuclear test by North Korea was powerful enough to sink a roughly 85-acre area on the peak of a mountain above the tunnels where the test likely took place.
Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite images, captured before and after Sept. 3, showed “significant changes at Mount Mantap’s peak elevation,” wrote Jeffrey Lewis, head of the East Asia program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California.
The test has resulted in South Korean move in enhancing its military capability to deal with North Korean threat.
In this video, Defense Updates looks at 5 very steps taken by South Korea to counter North Korea.
Lets get started.
Daniel A. Pinkston, a defense expert at the Seoul campus of Troy University said:
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities are crucial. Without those capabilities, “they would be ‘shooting blind’ because the missile units could not identify the targets”.
Keeping this aspect in consideration, South Korea said it would launch 5 spy satellites into orbit from 2021 to 2023 to better monitor weapons movements in North Korea. In the interim, it is talking with countries like France and Israel to lease spy satellites. It also plans to introduce four American RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones by next year.
In the late 1960s, after North Korean commandoes tried to ransack the presidential palace in Seoul, South Korea secretly trained misfits plucked from prison or off the streets to sneak into North Korea and slit the throat of its leader, Kim Il-sung. When the mission was aborted, the men mutinied.
Now, as Mr. Kim’s grandson, Kim Jong-un, accelerates his nuclear missile program, South Korea is again targeting the North’s leadership.
The South Korean military has announced it’s creating an assassination unit called the Spartan 3000 to carry out night raids in North Korea.
South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo told lawmakers of the government’s intention to build the “decapitation unit” on September 4, the day after the recent nuclear test.
MORE POWERFUL MISSILES
After the North’s latest nuclear test, South Korea fired its HYUNMOO-2 short-range ballistic missiles in a drill simulating an attack on the North’s test site.
South Korea is also buying 260 TAURUS MISSILES from a German and Swedish joint venture.
The United States helped South Korea build its first ballistic missiles in the 1970s, but in return, imposed restrictions to try to prevent a regional arms race.
The restrictions barred South Korea from attaching a payload weighing more than half a ton to its Hyunmoo missile when the rocket had a range of up to 497 miles.
President Trump has now agreed to lift payload limits, allowing South Korea to build more powerful ballistic missiles.
BETTER MISSILE DEFENSE
South Korea is planning to upgrade its US made PATRIOT PAC-2 interceptor missiles for a better low-altitude defense.
South Korea has also changed course to allow deployment of a full THAAD anti-missile battery south of Seoul to counter the growing threat from North Korea.
Earlier South Korean President Mr. Moon had held up placement of a full battery of six THAAD launchers after two launchers were installed.
For additional protection, South Korea is developing its own Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (L-SAM) interceptor missiles, as well as installing more early warning radars for ballistic missiles.
South Korea (L-SAM) interceptor missile along with the U.S.’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system will create a multi-layer defense that would enhance defense against incoming missile.
L-SAM interceptor is aimed to intercept missiles at an altitude of 50 to 60 kilometers U.S. made THAAD system is capable of intercepting incoming ballistic missiles at 40 to 150 kilometers. Hence, the two systems will complement each other.
INCREASED DEFENSE BUDGET & NUKES
South Korean Mr. Moon has vowed to expand the defense budget to 2.9 percent of South Korea’s gross domestic product during his term, from 2.4 percent, or $35.4 billion, as of this year. For next year, his government has proposed a budget of $38.1 billion, nearly $12 billion of it for weapons to defend against North Korea.
A top South Korean official just floated the idea of having Washington return nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula
South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo noted he talked to US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis about placing American nuclear weapons in the country for the first time in over 25 years.
He also said South Korea wants “strategic assets” like US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and B-52 bombers to deploy to the peninsula more frequently, though not to be permanently housed there.