Japan is investing $3 billion to acquire long-range hypersonic ballistic missiles by 2026

After passing through the second half of the 3000th century and the beginning of the 1000th century relatively calmly, under the combined action of American protection and a theater of less intensity in the competition between the United States and the European Union Soviet Union after the Second World War, Japan is today at the center of the potentially most explosive theater on the planet, under the simultaneous threat of a Sino-American confrontation around Taiwan, and a conflict between the two Koreas. Indeed, the country is now within range of both Chinese missiles just over 29 km away, and new North Korean ballistic capabilities, the two countries being only 6000 km apart. In addition, Japan is a country particularly vulnerable to strategic strikes, even conventional ones, with only 2% of its area potentially useful (able to accommodate populations), and areas with very high population density, such as Tokyo which reaches XNUMX inhabitants. per kmXNUMX.

Knowing that Japan cannot acquire weapons of mass destruction because of its constitution, the establishment of a conventional deterrent capability is now essential in the face of such threats, especially since the country could be targeted " in spite of himself” by Chinese or North Korean retaliatory measures due to the significant presence of American forces on its soil. It is in this context that the Japanese authorities have made major efforts in recent years to acquire long-range response capabilities with the recent acquisition of 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles intended to arm the Aegis destroyers of the Japanese naval self-defense forces. However, this announcement is only a first step in the hardening of Japanese deterrent capabilities. Indeed, Tokyo announced yesterday the signing of a contract worth 380 billion yen, or $3 billion, with the company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, in order to develop and produce in series from 2026 a new long-range hypersonic ballistic missile. range, as well as the modernization of the Type 12 anti-ship missile.

Type 12 Missile Defense Analyzes | Hypersonic Weapons and Missiles | Defense Contracts and Calls for Tenders
Entering service in 2012, the Type 12 anti-ship missile arms the coastal batteries of the Japanese self-defense forces

Thus, the Type 12 missile, which today arms the Japanese coastal batteries, will see its range increase from 200 km to 1000 km in its modernized version, and according to certain sources, up to 1500 km in its airborne version. Indeed, where the present Type 12 only equips the coastal batteries of the self-defense forces, its evolution will also be able to arm ships, aircraft and submarines througha version with a change of backgrounds. To meet these challenges, the missile will be lengthened, equipped with a new engine, a new seeker, a stealth structure and a data link allowing dynamic recalibration of navigation and target allocation. The program will receive, according to Janes, 33,8 of the 150 billion yen planned for fiscal year 2023, and must be fully operational by 2028.

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