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Japan to deploy over 1,000 longer-range Type-12 missiles in reaction to Chinese threat.

| 2022

According to Jesse Johnson in The Japan Times, with an eye toward narrowing a cavernous “missile gap” with China, Japan is considering stockpiling more than 1,000 long-range cruise missiles, a report said Sunday, August 21, as tensions over Taiwan grow. The Japanese Defense Ministry is looking to deploy its ground-launched Type-12 standoff missiles — and extend their range from around 200 kilometers (124 miles) to more than 1,000 km — mainly to its far-flung southwestern islands and the Kyushu region, the Yomiuri daily reported.
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Firing of a Type 12 (AShM) anti-ship missile (Picture source: Japan GSDF)

The envisioned weapons, which would also be ship- and air-launch capable, would put the Chinese and North Korean coasts within striking distance, the report added. In order to acquire the weapons at an early date, the Defense Ministry could include requests for them when it unveils its initial budget proposal for fiscal 2023.

As underlined by The Japan Times, the issue gained added momentum after China for the first time launched five ballistic missiles into waters near Okinawa Prefecture earlier in August. China possesses around 300 ground-based cruise missiles and 1,900 ballistic missiles that could strike Japan. The U.S., bound until 2019 by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned all land-based missiles with ranges of 500 km to 5,500 km, currently does not have any such weapons in its arsenal, though it has begun developing missiles in that range.

On its side, North Korea has hundreds of ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan, and its recent breakthroughs — including the claim of testing a hypersonic weapon designed to evade defenses — have also triggered concern in Tokyo, The Japan Times writes.

Japan does not possess any longer-range missiles, but the envisioned weapons would likely be at the core of government talks on acquiring a so-called counterstrike capability that would allow it to hit enemy bases and command-and-control centers. Those talks are expected to heat up in the coming months, and a decision is expected to be included in the country’s revised National Security Strategy, set to be completed by the end of the year.

Currently available in Japan’s arsenal, the Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile is a truck-mounted anti-ship missile developed by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2012. It is an upgrade of Type 88 Surface-to-Ship Missile. Type 12 features INS with mid-course GPS guidance and better precision due to enhanced Terrain Contour Matching and target discrimination capabilities. The weapon is networked, where initial and mid-course targeting can be provided by other platforms, and also boasts shorter reload times, reduced lifecycle costs, and a range of 124 mi (108 NMI; 200 km).

The missile shares the same Ka-band Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA) radar seeker with the Japanese BVRAAM missile, AAM-4B.

The ship-launched derivative of Type 12, designated as Type 17 (SSM-2) missile has been put into service and it is to start deploying from Maya-class destroyer. The range has doubled to 400 kilometers and is also planning to re-apply for the improved version of the surface-to-ship system and the air-launched variant for the P-1 patrol aircraft.

The MoD approved the development of an improved version of the Type 12 SSM on December 18, 2020, by the Cabinet. According to Japanese newspapers, the range will be extended from 200 km to 900 km, with a future target of 1,500 km. It will have a stealthy shape to reduce RCS, as well as high mobility to prevent interception from the enemy. It can attack not only naval vessels but also ground targets. The MoD intends to launch the improved Type 12 SSM not only from the ground but also from naval vessels and aircraft.


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