SM-6, Tomahawk missile launchers to be deployed in Indo-Pacific: US Army Pacific commander

Gen. Charles Flynn, the commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, speaks during an interview at Vandal Training Center in Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, April 6. Yonhap

The United States will deploy ground-based launchers capable of firing SM-6 and Tomahawk missiles in the Indo-Pacific region soon to address rising security threats, the Army Pacific commander has said.During his visit to South Korea, Gen. Charles Flynn said the U.S. Army has developed “long-range precision fires,” listing the SM-6 interceptor and the maritime-strike Tomahawk as missiles that could be launched from the new launch system.It marks his first confirmation of the types of weapons systems to be fielded in the region this year.”That system will be deploying into the region soon. Where and when it’s going to go, I’m not going to talk about that now,” Flynn said during the interview with Yonhap News Agency at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, on Saturday.The SM-6 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles with a range of over 240 kilometers, and the Tomahawk is a subsonic cruise missile that can strike a target about 2,500 kilometers away.Experts widely speculate the system could be the ground-based Typhon system, which has been operated by the U.S. Army since last year. Guam, a U.S. territory in the Western Pacific Ocean, is considered a potential site for the system, according to Japanese media.

It marks a significant development as such a weapon system would be deployed in the region for the first time since the U.S. and the former Soviet Union signed a treaty in 1987 to abolish the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF). After the U.S. withdrew from the INF treaty in 2019, citing alleged Russian violations, the U.S. Army has developed and deployed new intermediate-range missiles amid China’s muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.Flynn, who was on a three-nation Asia tour, including stops in Japan and Thailand, addressed concerns over North Korea’s recent string of missile tests but showed confidence in the alliance’s “integrated and layered missile defense system.””Continued testing is concerning and, in many ways, destabilizing,” he said. “I am confident, given our recent activities in the region, about layered missiles defense of what we have.”North Korea said Wednesday it test-fired a new hypersonic intermediate-range ballistic missile, called the Hwasongpho-16B, claiming all of its missiles are now solid-fuel and nuclear capable with warhead control capability.A hypersonic missile is usually hard to intercept with existing missile defense shields as it can travel at five times the speed of sound, changes its flight paths and flies at low altitudes.The U.S. Forces Korea operates low-tier PAC-3 missiles and the upper-tier Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors. The U.S. missile shield is complemented by South Korea’s homegrown surface-to-air missile (M-SAM) defense system, called Cheongung, against mid-tier 슬롯놀이터 threats.

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