December 2, 2022
TOKYO – The development of at least 10 types of long-range missiles is being mulled under a Defense Ministry plan, as the nation moves toward the possession of counterattack capabilities, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
According to an outline of the plan, the ministry aims to deploy hypersonic guided missiles that can fly at least five times the speed of sound operational from fiscal 2028 or later, and high-speed glide bombs that could be used for the defense of remote islands from fiscal 2030 or later.
The possession of counterattack capabilities is likely to be stipulated in the revised National Security Strategy set to be approved by the Cabinet in December.
Under the development plan, at least 10 types of missiles would be introduced to bolster Japan’s deterrence, comprising hypersonic and glide missiles that can be launched from land, sea and air.
The Defense Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry for ¥5 trillion to cover related expenditures and will officially decide on the budget and details of the plan in conjunction with the formulation of the security strategy.
The Ground Self-Defense Force’s Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile will be the mainstay of the counterattack capabilities. The Type 12’s range will be extended and the missile will be modified so it can be launched from land, sea and air. A ground-launched version of the missile is expected to be deployed in fiscal 2026 at the earliest.
Intercepting a hypersonic missile would be difficult under Japan’s existing air defense network. The government believes that adding hypersonic missiles to the Self-Defense Forces’ arsenal would serve as a deterrent. The ministry aims to bring forward the deployment of ground-launched and other missiles from the 2030s to fiscal 2028 at the earliest.
Ground-launched glide missiles fly at supersonic speeds and can destroy enemy forces that have come ashore. A prototype is planned to be deployed in fiscal 2027, with the missiles scheduled to be rolled out in fiscal 2030 at the earliest. These missiles might feature among Japan’s counterattack capabilities if their range can be extended. Development of a submarine-launched version has also been proposed.
The ministry plans to start research into multiple types of anti-ship guided missiles as well. The government intends to purchase U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missiles to swiftly secure counterattack capabilities, and is preparing to expedite the mass production and deployment of missiles manufactured in Japan.