Japan joins hypersonic weapons race

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TOKYO, (BM) – Tokyo presented its plans to create its own hypersonic weapons, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

In a document published on the website of the Procurement, Technology and Logistics Agency, the Japanese government announced that in the near future two classes of hypersonic systems will be deployed – a hypersonic cruise missile (HCM) and an ultra-fast planning warhead (FPW).

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HCM is supposed to be equipped with a hypersonic ramjet engine, it will look like an ordinary rocket, but fly at a much higher speed and have a long flight range.

The super-fast planning warhead will be equipped with a solid propellant rocket engine that can raise the warhead of the product to a great height, and then the warhead will be planned to the target intended for destruction, maintaining high speed immediately before the warhead is undermined.

The agency also provided more detailed information on the types of warheads that will be equipped with the super-fast planning warhead. Among them will be warheads designed to destroy both surface and ground targets.

It is assumed that one of the warheads will be armor-piercing, designed specifically to penetrate into the spaces below the deck of an aircraft carrier, while the version for ground targets will use a warhead designed to hit area targets.

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Including it is supposed to use cumulative charges. The cumulative effect implies an increase in the effect of the explosion by its concentration in a given direction, achieved by using a charge with a conical recess, the base of which is facing the target, and the detonator is located at the top of the recess.

The surface of the charge from the side of the recess is covered with a metal lining, the thickness of which varies from fractions of a millimeter to several millimeters. When the warhead is blown up, a jet is formed, the speed of which can reach 90 km/s.

Japan’s roadmap also showed that the country is taking a phased approach to developing types of warheads and developing solid-fuel engine technology.

Tokyo plans to produce early versions of hypersonic weapons from 2024 to 2028. It is expected that they will go into service in the early 2030s.

The agency expects both systems to provide satellite navigation. An inertial navigation system is supposed to be used as a backup. Japan plans to create a network of seven satellites to provide continuous positioning for its self-defense forces. This will allow her to provide continuous navigation data without relying on foreign satellites.

Read more: Japan Spends $3.3B for Ship Missile System

Over the years, Japan has carried out research and development in various areas related to hypersonic weapons, although this was mainly in the interests of other areas, such as satellite navigation and solid-fuel rockets.

However, much work remains to be done in areas such as hypersonic guidance systems, thermal shielding of warheads and missile systems, and hypersonic propulsion systems so that Japan can use the capabilities of hypersonic weapons as a viable means of warfare.

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