As part of a program to strengthen the country’s island defenses and deter military aggression from China and Russia, Japan has begun the development of its first long-range cruise missile, the KHI SSM. This was announced by the Ministry of Defense of Japan.
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According to a June 6 press release from the Japanese military department, the contract to develop the new KR SSM was signed on June 2 with Kawasaki Heavy Industries [KHI].
It is noted that the new long-range KHI SSM cruise missile can be used by warships, aircraft, and land-based launchers, and can also be modified to be launched from submarines.
What do we know about KHI SSM?
Depending on the modification, the SSM missile will have a length of 6 to 10 meters, a claimed range of more than 1,000 km, and a cruise speed of Mach 0.8. As for the engine, the KHI missile will be powered by the new KJ300 turbofan engine currently being developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
The KHI SSM missile will have an inertial and satellite navigation system [GPS]. In the final stage of the flight, the missile will use an infrared and radar guidance system. According to the manufacturer, homing with a duplicated infrared and radar guidance system will make the missile much less vulnerable to enemy air defense countermeasures and significantly increase its effectiveness in hitting targets.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Japan, the production of new long-range Japanese KHI SSM missiles will begin in the second half of this decade.
Japan continues to rearm
It is also worth noting that since 2017, Japan has been pushing for the production of its own new cruise and anti-ship missiles with a target range similar to the American Tomahawk or TLAM cruise missiles.
In addition, since April this year, Japan signed a contract with the US to purchase 400 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles, with which it intends to equip its submarines from 2025 to 2030.
It also became known that the Ministry of Defense of Japan has decided to start the construction of the first two ASEV warships, which will be equipped with launchers for the vertical launch of missiles with 128 cells.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries [MHI] will be responsible for the construction of the first vessel, and Japan Marine United [JMU] for the construction of the second.
The development of a universal ship launcher for cruise and hypersonic missiles will be carried out jointly with the United States. Construction of Japan’s first ASEV missile will begin in 2024 and is scheduled to enter service in 2027.
China and Russia
Some military experts have already stressed that Japan’s development of new missiles, warships, and other types of offensive weapons is linked not only to the ongoing long-standing dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea but also with Russia over the Kuril Islands.
Moreover, officials and representatives of the Japanese Ministry of Defense have repeatedly mentioned this recently. Tokyo continues to assert and assert Russia’s claims to the Southern Kurils, saying it is Japan’s “inalienable territory.”
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