US sending THAAD anti-missiles to South Korea and Korea is building three new fast guided missile patrol ships

The US military is to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) counter missile battery to the Republic of Korea (RoK) as quick as possible, the White House said on 10 October in response to an official protest. It is expected that a THAAD battery could deploy to South Korea sometime in 2017.

South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC) announced on 12 October that it signed a KRW199.1 billion (USD177.10 million) contract with the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) for three additional ‘B’ variants of the Patrol Killer Experimental (PKX) fast attack craft.

The vessels, each of which can accommodate a crew of 20, will supplement an initial batch of 16 PKX-Bs currently being built for the Republic of Korea Navy. The ships are scheduled to be delivered by 2019.

The first PKX-B was launched on 28 July at HHIC’s shipyard in Busan.

The 210-tonne platforms have an overall length of 44 m, an overall beam of 7 m, and are lighter and faster than the previous generation of PKX-A guided-missile patrol boats that HHIC delivered in 2005.

As well as being more manoeuvrable, the new vessels will carry 76 mm artillery, long-range guided missiles and two remote-controlled 12.7 mm machine guns. Propelled by water jets, the craft has a top speed of 40 kt