- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2012

TOKYO — The U.S. and Japan have agreed to begin coordinating the deployment of a surveillance radar designed specifically for ballistic missile defense, the Pentagon announced Monday.

It will be Japan’s second deployment of the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control, or AN/TPY-2, which can track all classes of ballistic missiles and identify small objects at long distances, according to a Missile Defense Agency fact sheet.

“The U.S. has been committed to the collective regional security in the Asia-Pacific region for decades, and to that end we cooperate with our partners on a broad range of capabilities including missile defense, which this is all about,” said a defense official Monday. “The second radar in Japan will enhance the alliance’s ability to defend Japan, our forward deployed forces, and the U.S. homeland from a ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea.”

The announcement comes as Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is visiting Japan on a 10-day tour of the region to advance the Pentagon’s “pivot to Asia.”

According to the Missile Defense Agency, the AN/TPY-2 is a transportable X-band, high-resolution, phased-array radar.

“What this radar will enable us to do is to spread out the posture of ships that were previously used in the region where we believe the radar will be placed. This only increases our ability to track that threat,” a defense official said.

The official said the radar’s deployment is not directed against China: “The radar would be focused on addressing the growing North Korean missile threat to the U.S. homeland, as well as well as U.S. citizens, our deployed forces, allies and partners in the region.”

An AN/TPY radar already is deployed at Shariki, Japan.

A U.S. team landed this week in Japan to work with officials on deploying the second radar.

Officials did not say when the radar would be deployed, who would maintain it and how much it will cost.