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Japan to develop new long-range missiles

JS Yugiri Mk 29 Missile Launchers (Rhk111/WikiCommons)
December 12, 2020

The government plans to develop a long-range cruise missile that can strike beyond the range of enemy weapons, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. The move is part of a new missile defense policy to be drawn up by the end of this year, under which the government will improve the Type 12 surface-to-ship missile so that it can be launched from naval vessels and aircraft, and strike ground targets.

The Cabinet will approve the plan as early as next week. The Type 12 has a range of more than 100 kilometers. The new missile is expected to have a range of several hundred kilometers, according to sources. The aim is to provide a certain level of stealth capabilities. It is thought that the missile could be used to attack enemy bases in the future.

The Defense Ministry will earmark ¥33.5 billion in the next fiscal year’s budget for related expenses. The ministry aims to complete the development within five years by making improvements to the Type 12, such as increasing the size and adding wings. The Defense Ministry also plans to introduce U.S.-made standoff missiles, such as the JASSM air-to-ground missile with a range of about 900 kilometers, to be mounted on F-15 fighters, in response to the improved missile attack capabilities of China and other countries.

The government aims to enhance deterrence by developing a cruise missile that can be launched from land and naval vessels. However, it has given up on plans to draft a policy by the end of the year on acquiring equipment to attack enemy bases. Discussions are expected to continue next year.

The development of the new cruise missile is seen as an attempt to strengthen its capability in anticipation of future policy changes. The government is also considering installing SM-6 multifunctional antiaircraft missiles on the two Aegis-equipped ships that will replace the abandoned plan for the ground-based Aegis Ashore interceptor system.

Under the abandoned plan, the system would only be able to intercept ballistic missiles. The SM-6, which is capable of intercepting enemy cruise missiles, would enhance the capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces.

The government plans to allocate nearly ¥2 billion in the next fiscal year’s budget for research and other expenses to determine the specific functions and equipment of the two Aegis-equipped ships. The Cabinet is also expected to approve a review of relevant parts of the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program.


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