March 23, 2018

Trump admin approves $133 million anti-ballistic missile sale to Japan

12 January 2018, 10:28 | Melvin Schneider

State Department approves SM-3 IIA sale to Japan

State Department Approves Possible $133.3 Million Missile Deal With Japan

This second Aegis destroyer will target a missile and fire an interceptor based on radar information provided by another Aegis vessel closer to the missile launch site.

The SM-3 interceptor is already a critical part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missile defense system in Europe, with interceptors deployed on US Navy ships off the continent's coast, according to the manufacturer Raytheon.

"At a time when North Korea is beefing up its ballistic missile capability, we need to strengthen our capability fundamentally", Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said.

The Japanese government is leaning toward the inclusion of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), the envisaged missile defense system laid out by the US military, in the National Defense Program Guidelines, which is expected to be revised this year. The U.S. Navy plans to steadily introduce the engage-on-remote system to its Aegis vessels. However, the US side could be reluctant to accept such a proposal because a USA vessel intercepting a missile based on targeting information shared by an MSDF vessel would also be entrusting command to Japan.

Japan announced its decision to expand its ballistic missile defenses in December using US systems, including the ground-based Aegis radar and interceptor missiles.

The MSDF now has four Aegis destroyers for the nation's missile defense. Each can hold a maximum of eight SM-3 interceptors.

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Throughout 2017, North Korea has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests despite constant criticism from the West and trade sanctions.

North Korea continued its nuclear advances despite condemnation from the global community.

Japan will have a fleet of eight Aegis destroyers in 2020, following the construction of new ships and upgrades to others.

The Japanese government aims to start operation of the Aegis Ashore in fiscal 2023 to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles amid the growing North Korean threat.

The principal contractors on the potential sale are Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems, DSCA said in a January 9 announcement.

Land-based Aegis systems have similar capabilities.

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