Japan Developing Missile to Strike Enemy Outside Air Defences' Reach – Report

The new missile is expected to be an upgraded version of the Japanese supersonic cruise missile ASM3 which was developed in 2017 and has a range of 200 kilometres.

Japan is developing a long-range cruise missile capable of attacking enemy targets outside the reach of its air defences, something that will be the first such weaponry in the country’s history, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported, citing Japanese Defence Ministry sources.

The so-called standoff missile, which will have a range of 400 kilometres and a speed of Mach 3, is expected to be used to attack enemy ships in the event of an immediate threat to Japanese territory.

The missile will be created on the basis of the ASM3 supersonic cruise missile which was completed in 2017 but failed to get into the procurement plan for the needs of the Japan Self-Defence Force for 2018 and 2019.

The decision was made by the Japanese Defence Ministry, which questioned the ASM3’s effectiveness in light of China’s growing defence capabilities and ordered the missile’s modernisation so that it can be created in the next few years.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports that the development of such missiles with offensive capabilities may be out of line with Japan’s “peaceful” constitution.

“However, the Japanese government adheres to the view that the possession of such offensive weapons does not contradict the provisions of the basic law, in case it is related to self-defence”, the newspaper notes.

In addition, the new Japanese defence policy plan, which was approved in late 2018, calls for the development of domestically made cruise missiles.

In December, the Japanese government announced that its defence budget will rise to a record $47 bln for the next fiscal year (starting from 1 April 2019). The increase came amid Tokyo’s efforts to beef up its missile defence and deploy US-made F-35 stealth jets to counter China.

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