The radar system for a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery is expected to arrive in South Korea this month as the two countries speed up deployment of the system, a government source said Wednesday.
The comment came after the first batch of equipment, including two missile launchers, arrived here Monday night.
"Components needed to set up the THAAD unit will be gradually arriving here," the source was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. "As far as I know, the radar will also arrive as early as this month to undergo operational testing."
A THAAD battery consists of six truck-mounted launchers, 48 interceptors (eight per launcher), a fire control and communications unit, and an AN/TPY-2 radar.
The source added South Korea and the United States are trying to minimize the time to install the anti-missile system amid growing threats from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
The planned arrival of the radar, which China is reacting most strongly against, is expected to bring Beijing's protests to a boiling point. The country is claiming that the radar could be used to spy on its military capability, saying the system seriously undermines its security interests.
When announcing the delivery of the first components, Tuesday, a Ministry of National Defense official told reporters that the arrival of the remaining equipment and operational personnel will follow soon to fulfill the alliance decision on the deployment made in July last year.
Expectation is growing that the battery could be deployed in two months and the unit will be operational as early as April.
Regarding the arrival schedule, an official from the U.S. Forces Korea said, "There is nothing I can confirm."
China's foreign ministry said Tuesday that the country "solemnly" objects to the deployment, and vowed to "resolutely take necessary actions in order to safeguard our security interests."
In response, the White House said that the deployment was a "national security matter" for South Korea, reaffirming it would go ahead as scheduled despite China's protests.