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S. Korea to deploy newly introduced radar ahead of N. Korea rocket launch
SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will deploy newly-introduced missile defense radars as soon as acceptance testing is completed in order to better guard against North Korea's planned rocket launch, a military source said.

   South Korea brought in two Israeli-made "Green Pine" radars this year, one of them in August and the other last month, and has since been conducting tests to ensure they have no defects.

   "Acceptance testing of the Green Pine radar No. 1 comes to an end today with a final assessment of 24-hour continuous operation," the source said. "It will be deployed immediately after the acceptance testing and will be in service when North Korea launches its long-range rocket."

   Testing of the second radar will be completed by mid-December and deployed thereafter, the source said.

   North Korea plans to launch a long-range rocket between Dec.10 and 22 to put what it claims to be an earth observation satellite into orbit. The communist nation has long used the pretext of satellite launches to disguise ballistic missile technology tests.

   The new advanced radars, capable of detecting targets at ranges of up to about 500 kilometers, will be tasked with tracking the flight path of the North's Unha-3 rocket, together with two Aegis warships equipped with the SPY-1 radar that can detect targets as far away as 1,000 km.

   The Green Pine radar is ground-based and can be in service around the clock.

   The radar is also expected to play a key role in the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system.

   Once the North's rocket lifts off, DSP (Defense Support Program) satellites of the United States are expected to detect the launch first before the Green Pine and SPY-1 radars start tracking its path.

   In the future, data collected by the radars will be sent to a missile defense command center South Korea plans to establish in the first half of next year, which in turn will determine the best-suited interception unit within seconds and pass related data to it.

   jschang@yna.co.kr
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