The U.S. military will be deploying a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense Remote Launch package on Rota, reportedly as part of an exercise.
In a news release yesterday, it said the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command and Joint Region Marianas will be deploying a THAAD Remote Launch package to the Rota International Airport in the CNMI this early March. That “package” will include one THAAD launcher and associated personnel and equipment. It was not clear how many military personnel will be headed for Rota.
A Guam Daily Post report said the deployment is just part of an exercise and will just be for a week.
THAAD is an American anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down incoming missiles. Right now, a THAAD battery is assigned to the defense of Guam. By deploying a THAAD remote launcher on Rota, this can expand the amount of area a THAAD battery can defend and allows commanders greater flexibility in deploying the system, the news release stated.
Aside from merely saying the move is intended to exercise emerging capabilities, the news release did not indicate whether the action is in response to any intelligence report or military action by other nearby countries.
The news release states that a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 15th Wing based out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii will move the equipment from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to Rota International Airport.
This operation will allow the 94th AAMDC to gather valuable data and inform future deployments of THAAD Remote Launch packages throughout the theater, the news release stated.
The news release said that THAAD Remote Launch is a recently developed capability that allows a THAAD launcher to operate while geographically separated from its Tactical Fire Control Center and radar array in Guam.
“There is no more important mission than the defense of the homeland—and exercising THAAD’s remote launch capability allows us to enhance the effectiveness of a combat-tested, upper-tier missile defense system that is vital to the Army’s ability to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Holler, commanding general of 94th AAMDC, in the news release.
Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, senior military official for CNMI and Joint Region Marianas commander said, “Missile defense is the number one priority for Indo-Pacific command in this region and testing THAAD’s remote launch ability bolsters our defense of CNMI, fortifying our layered defense in the region.”
The 94th AAMDC is responsible for all Army air defense assets in the Indo-Pacific theater. Their mission is to conduct integrated air and missile defense operations in coordination with joint forces, allies, and partners in order to defend the homeland and critical assets.
Joint Region Marianas oversees the installation management functions of both U.S. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. The commander of Joint Region Marianas also serves as Commander for the U.S. Naval Forces Marianas and Defense Representative to Guam, CNMI, Republic of Palau, and Federated States of Micronesia. (Saipan Tribune)