The U.S. and South Korea together fired eight surface-to-surface missiles early Monday local time (Sunday afternoon in the U.S.) hours after North Korea fired a barrage of short-range ballistic missiles, a South Korean defense official told Reuters.
The U.S.-South Korean barrage took place over a 10-minute period at 4:45 a.m. local time Monday (3:45 p.m. Sunday EST). Eight Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) were fired from a U.S. aircraft carrier, a South Korean official confirmed to Reuters.
The eight-missile barrage was in response to eight missiles fired by North Korea earlier Sunday. In what appears to be North Korea’s largest single missile test, North Korea’s eight short-range missiles launched toward the East Sea from Sunan near the capital Pyongyang. The missiles traveled 110-670 kilometers at a 25-90 kilometer altitude, achieving Mach 3-6 speeds, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, as reported by Yonhap News.
North Korea’s missiles are believed to have included the KN-23 missile — based on Russia’s Iskander ballistic missile – which features a “pull-up maneuver” that can dodge interception, Yonhap News reported.
“The South Korea-U.S. combined firing of the ground-to-ground missiles demonstrated the capability and posture to launch immediate precision strikes on the origins of provocations and their command and support forces,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered a strengthened deterrence and defense posture together with the U.S. in response to North Korea’s actions.
The U.S. and South Korea just concluded joint naval exercises on Saturday that included a U.S. aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula over the weekend – the first of such exercises using a U.S. carrier in four years.
The exercise also included guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65), aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and staffs of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, and replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198). Republic of Korea Navy surface ships included ROKS Sejong The Great (DDG 991), ROKS Marado (LPH 6112), and ROKS Munmu The Great (DDH 976) commanded by Maritime Task Flotilla Seven (MTF 7).