PHOTO CREDIT: THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Japan’s Defence Ministry, for the first time, has made a policy decision to develop the nation’s first domestically manufactured air-to-ship long-range cruise missile. These will be mounted on
fighter jets and would be capable of attacking a warship from outside the range of an enemy’s weapons.
According to a report in South China Morning Post, the plan is aimed at boosting Japan’s deterrence by extending the shooting range to more than 400km as China has been improving its naval capabilities. The forthcoming development will be based on Japan’s supersonic XASM-3 air-to-ship missiles, which are said to have a range of not more than 200km, the report quoted government sources.
The ministry aims to put the new missile into practical use within a few years.
The new missile is considered to be of a “standoff defence capability”, enabling attacks from beyond the range of adversaries. Standoff defence capability was stipulated in the new National Defence Programme Guidelines adopted by the Cabinet last December.
The Defence Ministry will include expenses necessary for the new project in its draft budget soon.
The new missile is envisaged to have a range of over 4km by making improvements to such things as the fuel-load of the supersonic air-to-ship ASM-3 missiles, completed in fiscal 2017, with the improved capability of anti-air missiles mounted on Chinese warships in mind.
In the 2000s, China debuted a high-performance warship dubbed the “Chinese Aegis destroyer”, which is mounted with missiles with an estimated range of about 150km. Between 2013 to 2018 alone, more than 15 such destroyers are said to have gone into commission, and the number is expected to rise further.