US deploys new missile system to the Philippines

This article is available in Pilipino

The Typhon Missile System (TMS), the missile launcher with the firing range of 1,600 kilometers, arrived in the Philippines in early April. The launcher was brought to a “military base in northern Luzon” and used first in the Salaknib exercises and in the ongoing Balikatan war game.

This launcher is said to be the first of its kind. The US called its arrival in the Philippines a “first in history” not only in the country but in the whole of Asia. The manufacture of such a missile system began only in 2019 after the then-Trump administration scrapped the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, an agreement between the US and Russia. This treaty prohibits the production, stockpiling and use of long-range missiles.

Observers say this weapon will bring a “strategic shift” in the balance of security in the region and further increase the possibility of the outbreak of war between the two imperialist countries. By positioning the weapon in the Philippines, the US is giving a signal to China that it can and is highly capable of placing offensive weaponry within striking distance of its facilities in the South China Sea, the northern part of China and the Taiwan Strait.

On April 25, China said that the deployment of such a system in Asia is a “threat to stability and peace” in the region. It threatened to take “decisive counter-measures” to this US move. It also accused the US of pursuing “unilateral military advantage” at China’s own gateway. It says such weapons increase the possibility of “misjudgements and miscalculations.”

China also warned the Philippines to “be alert to the true intentions of the US and the possible consequences of obeying (its schemes).” It said the Philippines needs to consider following the direction of the US at the expense of its own security.

In the first week of April, Gen. Charles Flynn, commander of the US Army Pacific regional command the US admitted the US’ plans to permanently station such a missile launcher in the Asia-Pacific by the end of the year.

The Typhon Missile System is the core component of the US’s Multi-Domain Task Forces (MDTF), the special units it formed against China and Russia. This missile system consists of four launchers, a command center and associated bomb-carrying vehicles. It is used in conjunction with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the Dark Eagle Hypersonic System.

It has the capacity to launch a ballistic missile against ships at a distance of 370 kilometers and to launch the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, which has the capacity to fly up to 1,600 kilometers. This missile launcher is made by the American company Lockheed Martin.

AB: US deploys new missile system to the Philippines