Us Deploys Missile Interceptor Ships Before North Korean Launch

03.30.09 | FL News Team

The United States military deployed two missile-interceptor ships from South Korea today ahead of a North Korean rocket launch suspected to be a thinly-veiled attempt to test a long-range missile.

Pyongyang has announced plans to send a communications satellite into space sometime between April 4th and April 8th. However, U.S., South Korean and Japanese sources believe North Korea actually intends to test the Taepodong-Two missile, which blew up seconds after its only previous test launch in 2006.

According to local media, the U.S. missile-interceptor ships will use sophisticated radar to monitor the launch. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told "Fox News Sunday" the U.S. military the U.S. has no plans to interfere, but would consider shooting down an aberrant missile if it appears to be headed for Hawaii. Gates added that the Pentagon does not believe North Korea has the technology to put a warhead on the missile or hit the West coast of the United States. 

The rocket is already installed on a launch pad at a missile base on North Korea's east coast. North Korea is expected to start the three-to-four-day process of fueling the rocket this week ahead of its planned launch under the watchful eye of U.S. spy satellites.

Pyongyang has announced the rocket's trajectory will take it over part of Japan. The Japanese military has already deployed two missile-intercepting vessels and another radar-equipped ship off its west coast, and is reportedly prepared to shoot down any debris that may pose a danger to Japan. South Korea is expected to deploy its own missile-intercepting vessel closer to the date of the launch.