Japan starts to extend range of its missiles to over 1,000 km
Japan is planning to upgrade and extend the capability of its cruise missiles to hit objects over 1,000 kilometers away, Nikkei has learned.
The defense ministry aims to deploy such missiles by the second half of the 2020s. These missiles, to be developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, can be launched from land and also fitted on fighter planes and warships. Japan's missiles are now only capable of reaching 100 km to 200 km from launch point.
This plan by the government, which it sees as a form of deterrence, comes amid increasing competition in missile development in the Asia-Pacific region. Tokyo says it has little choice but to strengthen the country's defense capabilities.
"As neighboring countries proceed with missile development, Japan will also need equipment to enhance deterrence," a senior defense ministry official told Nikkei.
The defense ministry started to develop land-propelled missiles in fiscal 2021. In the next fiscal year, Tokyo will start testing prototypes to onboard ships and fighters. Total development cost is expected to be about 100 billion yen ($880 million).
The new missiles will also be able to track targets and strike more precisely. Japan expects to complete technical and application tests for grounded missiles by fiscal 2025. The testing of the missile prototypes that can be mounted on ships and fighter jets are expected to be completed in fiscal 2026 and 2028 respectively.
The Ministry of Defense is planning to add new details in the country's national security strategy to be revised at the end of 2022 about the development and deployment of equipment to be used in any medium-term defense.