So as to strengthen South Koreas defensive posture, in April of 2017, the US installed a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (“THAAD”), within a small community 135 miles (217km) southeast of Seoul, South Korea’s capital and largest city, with the specific purpose of intercepting and destroying incoming missiles from North Korea in mid-flight.
But just how effective is the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or “THAAD”? Well, it’s good, but no magic bullet. Experts contend that countries that try to build missile defense systems, such as South Korea, should aim for a multi layered defense system; so in addition to THAAD, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD or ABMD) is currently the best compliment to THAAD, it fires from warships; can cover larger areas and is considerably more mobile. And finally the most recent design of short-range Patriot missiles — the Patriot PAC-3 — can also shoot down ballistic missiles, but only at short range. All of these weapons can be connected to the same sensor and command network; so a synchronized defense is possible.