Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The United States military in South Korea has begun to upgrade the Patriot missile system currently deployed on the peninsula.
According to U.S. Forces Korea on Thursday, Patriot Advanced Capability-2, a solid-fuel, ground-launched interceptor designed to destroy tactical ballistic and cruise missiles will receive the latest PAC-3 modifications, South Korean newspaper Seoul Shinmun reported.
The Patriot Advanced Capability 3 upgrade includes engineering services. U.S. manpower for the enhancement work arrived at Osan military base last week, according to the report.
The U.S. military has said North Korea's missile provocations are driving the Korean peninsula into a "crisis," adding the Patriot upgrade would clearly grow defense capabilities on the Korean peninsula.
U.S. Army Secretary Eric Fanning said during a visit to Korea in 2016 all Patriot upgrades would take place by 2018, according to Seoul Shinmun.
The latest measures suggest the military may be accelerating its plans for deployment.
On Feb. 12, North Korea tested an upgraded version of a submarine-launched ballistic missile it fired last August.
The Pukguksong-2 was described as a "new solid-propulsion missile" by South Korea's military. It is believed to have a solid-fuel engine that would make it more stable and cut down the time required for fueling prior to launch.
In early February The National Interest reported the United States and its global allies were looking into radar and targeting upgrades for the Patriot missile, so the system could deter against a wider range of drones, rotary wing aircraft and cruise missiles.