TOKYO, JAPAN — In 2023, the Japanese Type 12 land-to-ship missiles enter serial production. Along with them, hypersonic ballistic missiles are also being put into production. The Ministry of Defense of Japan confirmed the information through a signed contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The contract is worth 3 billion USD.
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The basic Type 12 missile has a range of 200 km. BulgarianMilitary.com reported last August that the government in Tokyo had issued an order to speed up the development of this missile. China is seen as a major threat to Japan and its outlying islands, and for this reason, Japan has taken steps to rapidly develop the missile.
Type 12 increased range
According to sources in Japan, the modernization of the Type 12 missile already has an increased range. Although, there is no mention of how much it has increased, last year’s estimates ranged between 900 km and 1,200 km of increased range. The shape of the missile has also been changed, with observers saying it resembles the US AGM-158 JASSM.
Type 12 will be developed in three variants – anti-ship, land, and aviation. At the end of July last year, the White Paper on Japanese Defense emphasized that the world should expect an acceleration in the strengthening of Japan’s defense capabilities. The White Paper cited “the rise of China” as the main reason.
Japan will not be able to conduct the Type 12 tests on its territory. Geographically, the territory of Japan is small, and this does not allow such tests to be carried out. Therefore, Tokyo has agreed with Washington that the tests of the Japanese missile will be carried out in the United States. What quantity Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will produce is being kept secret.
Along with Type 12, Japan will begin production of the hypersonic ballistic missile. BulgarianMilitary.com reported last year that Japan is undertaking a strategy to protect the Senkaku or so-called rocky islands. Here, in addition to China’s claims, North Korea also enters the “defensive field of view” of the Japanese defense. China’s claims to the Senkaku island chain date back to the end of the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, when Japan first laid claim to these islands.
The island chain includes 10 small islands. Three of them have already been officially acquired by Japan. This happened after a private investor bought them and donated them free of charge to the Japanese government.
The hypersonic ballistic missile will have to follow a concept of difficult interception, separation of the warhead at high altitude, and chaotic movement of the missile. Japan will aim for the missile’s range to be 1,000 km.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries received in the agreed package another order – the development of anti-ship guided missiles. These missiles will have to be launched from submarines. However, Japan is in the initial phase of this project. Development begins this year. Sometime in 2027, one part of these rockets are expected to be produced.
As this happened, Tokyo announced its intention to purchase 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles. The selected model has a long-range – 1,600 km. Their production has already started and it is expected that by the end of 2026, the entire ordered amount will be delivered.
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