Tokyo Missile Defense – Patriot Battery System
If you’ve followed the news recently you might have heard that North Korea is planning a rocket launch “test” sometime this week or the following. It’s not the first time either, but this time the Japanese Self Defense Forces are taking precautions, and I was a little bit surprised to see a patriot missile system passing through the gates of the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district the other day. It reminded me of the couple of times I saw these very same weapons systems up at the Air Force base in Saitama’s Iruma City in 2009 and 2010 as part of the 1st or 4th Air Defense Missile Groups. On the news we could see these trucks readied among the blossoming cherry trees inside the Ministry of Defense gates, a rather bizarre contrast. You can read about it here if you want to know more, along with some more recent photos of the missiles. The batteries (there’s three of them in the area) along with three naval destroyers have been deployed to shoot down the North Korean rocket should it threaten Japanese territory, something I really hope we don’t have to see. I hadn’t expected to ever get a use for these photos.
There’s some very conflicting claims as to how efficient these things really are at shooting down incoming rockets and missiles anyway, with a hit rate ranging from less than 10% to 97% (the higher claim coming from former US president George H.W. Bush himself). I don’t think they have ever been really tested in Japan.
As excited we are at all this hardware I added a couple of photos of one of the handsome young soldiers attached to this unit, he probably didn’t mean to look so fierce, only the sun was very very bright that day! In the photos you can see the missile battery itself as well as a mobile antenna, Antenna Mast Group with an antenna that extends 9.23m above the truck.