Connect with us

Global

Japan Needs Long-Range Strike Capabilities

Japan Needs Long-Range Strike Capabilities

There is a term to describe the mindset of Japanese people who put so much faith in Japan’s peace constitution that they are complacent about security threats. They are said to suffer from heiwa-boke. With North Korea demonstrating increasingly sophisticated missiles and threating to sink the country with nuclear weapons, heiwa-boke is a luxury the country can no longer afford. A serious national debate is long overdue about what Japan needs to ensure its survival.

Japan’s effort to meet regional missile threats rests largely on a two-tiered ballistic missile defense, or BMD, system. The sea-based tier consists of destroyers equipped to intercept missiles in midcourse, outside the earth’s atmosphere. The land-based tier consists of Patriot missile batteries designed to intercept missiles in their terminal phase. Overall, Japan’s BMD system is advanced, but there are limits to what it can do. According to unclassified sources, the PAC-3 interceptors that Japan deploys in its Patriot systems have a range of about 12.5 miles, making them useful only if they happen to be placed quite near an incoming missile’s target. The destroyers and their Aegis combat systems, by contrast, can potentially protect the entire country, but the ships must be in the right place at the right time. Whether any of this covers a specific area in Japan depends on when and where the missile drops. Worst of all—for the U.S. and consequently Japan’s value for regional missile defense—the missiles North Korea fired in August and September over Hokkaido flew at a speed and lofted trajectory that put them out of reach of Japan’s BMD completely.

To fill in the gaps, Japan could proceed with plans to purchase the land-based Aegis Ashore system and deploy more advanced missile interceptors for Japan’s sea-based and land-based systems, adding range, altitude and accuracy. While these capabilities would not protect all 127 million Japanese, especially if North Korea fires multiple missiles or uses multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, it would provide a much better chance at interception than the current system.

But Japan is also legally constrained in how it can act. When the country passed legislation in 2015 enabling Japanese forces to exercise collective self-defense, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attached strict conditions on its use. Japan is allowed to exercise force, and to the minimum extent necessary, only when its survival is threatened — either by direct attack or an attack against a country with a close relationship to Japan — and there are no other means to repel the attack.

The North Korean missile threat illustrates how difficult it is for Japan to actually exercise collective self-defense. Within seconds of a launch, Tokyo would have to determine the missile’s likely trajectory; if it appeared to be aimed not at Japan but elsewhere, its political leaders would have to discuss whether the situation fulfilled the conditions of collective self-defense. Could they realistically reach this conclusion fast enough to intercept the missile? And even if so, can Japan legally shoot down a missile unilaterally in the name of collective self-defense before any other country acts? Probably not.

To boost its deterrence capabilities, Japan should consider being even more proactive. It should, in fact, contemplate acquiring the capability to strike enemy territory with long-range strike capabilities. Under the notion that Japan should not simply wait around to die if an enemy were preparing to attack, the Ichiro Hatoyama administration argued in 1956 that having capabilities that could strike enemy missile sites was theoretically within the constitutional right of self-defense. This interpretation even applied to Japanese strikes against another country before a missile is launched at Japan. Subsequent administrations have adhered to this interpretation, meaning Japan can constitutionally possess long-range strike capability. As a matter of policy, however, its governments have not tried to acquire them. It may be time to move beyond the theoretical.

Assuming Japan needs long-range strike capabilities and plans to stay true to its commitment to self-defense, the government would need to clarify that the missiles would not be used preemptively. Yes, the technology is the same. So is the legal basis. The difference lies in the optics and reality of the situation. “Preemptive” looks offensive because it is extremely difficult to prove Japan is acting in “self-defense” when an attack on Japan has not yet occurred. The premise for initiating an attack also complicates the matter—being able to determine with absolute certainty that a launch is imminent, that the missile will strike Japan, and there are no other means to defend Japan. Easier said than done.

It would be politically difficult for Abe to acquire strike capabilities. He would be criticized for trampling on Japan’s pacifist constitution. The domestic opposition would likely argue that long-range missiles are “war potential” prohibited by the constitution. And countries such as China would probably complain that Abe is remilitarizing Japan.

But the government has a responsibility to protect the lives and property of its citizens. Facing a country like North Korea, which has threatened Japan’s very existence, leaders must do everything within their grasp to protect the country. If the existing BMD system has gaps, any means for Japan to strengthen its deterrence capabilities should be welcomed. The heightened threats from North Korea could be viewed as a call for new action.

For most of the past seven decades, Japanese political leaders could only improve security policies as fast as the pacifist public allowed. This worked during the Cold War when the technology of the Soviet Union did not change rapidly. After that era, Japan’s security policies continued to adapt to meet new challenges, albeit slowly. But North Korea’s swiftly advancing military capabilities have drastically changed the threat environment. Japan no longer has the luxury to be complacent about its security threats. It should consider making strike capabilities a top priority.

Facebook Comments

Global

Oshkosh Defense Announces Two Orders Totalling $235.2 Million

Oshkosh Defense Announces Two Orders Totalling $235.2 Million

OSHKOSH (Wisconsin, the USA), May 25, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova, Photo: Wikipedia

The tactical vehicle manufacturer, Oshkosh Defense, announced on 23rd May 2018 that it was awarded two delivery orders at the total amount of $235.2 million from the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). The scope of the agreement includes recapitalisation of vehicles in the heavy vehicle fleet of the U.S. Army, reported Shephard Media.

The recapitalisation of the vehicles in the army’s Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) and Palletised Load Systems (PLS) fleets will involve upgrading to the latest configuration and the same zero-mile, zero-hour condition as new vehicles.

Under the contract 410 vehicles will be recapitalised and 680 new PLS trailers will be manufactured. Deliveries will start in the Fiscal Year 2019.

“The mark of any good investment is its ability to withstand the test of time. The longevity of the HEMTT and PLS fleets combined with the durability of the platform attest to the value of these mission critical vehicles,” said Pat Williams, VP and general manager of army and marine corps programmes for Oshkosh Defense.

More than 13,000 HEMTT and 3,000 PLS has been recapitalised by Oshkosh Defense since 1995.
The Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) is an eight-wheel drive, diesel-powered with weight of 9,100 kg.

The Palletized Load System (PLS) is designed to carry ammunition and other critical supplies.

Photo: U.S. Army soldiers unload a Mk2 Bridge Erection Boat from a M1977A2 CBT HEMTT into the Missouri River

Facebook Comments

Continue Reading

Global

Bulava ICBMs Were Test Fired from the Yury Dolgorukiy Submarine

Bulava ICBMs Were Test Fired from the Yury Dolgorukiy Submarine

MOSCOW (Russia), May 25, 2018, Author: Bm News Team, Photo: Wikipedia (K-535 Yuri Dolgorukiy at sea trials)

On 22nd May 2018 four Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were test fired from the Yury Dolgorukiy nuclear submarine of Russia. The test was successful. That was announced by the military in a statement, which was quoted by the state news agencies, reported Shephard Media.

The missiles were fired from the submerged Yury Dolgorukiy submarine in the White Sea on the north-western coast of Russia. The Navy’s northern fleet revealed that the target was a military test ground on the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula.

According to the Navy it was the first time when such a number of missiles are fired from such a type of submarine. The tactical and technical characteristics and reliability of the Yury Dolgorukiy strategic missile submarine and the Bulava missile system were confirmed.

The weight of the Yury Dolgorukiy submarine is 14,720 t. It reaches the speed of 46 km/h. The submarine is from the fourth-generation Borei class of strategic submarines and is designated to carry the Bulava intercontinental nuclear-capable missiles. The first sea trials of that submarine began on 19 June 2009 and the submarine was commissioned on 10 January 2013.

The Bulava is a submarine-launched ballistic missile developed for the Russian Navy. The operational range of the missile is reported to be 8,000-8,300 km, and the accuracy – 350 m.

Facebook Comments

Continue Reading

Global

AeroVironment Announces a New Switchblade Order

AeroVironment Announces a New Switchblade Order

TAMPA (Florida, the USA, at SOFIC), May 23, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova, Photo: AeroVironment

On 22nd May 2018, the manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems for both military and commercial purposes, AeroVironment, Inc., announced that it has received an order from the U.S. Army for the Switchblade Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) and logistics support. That takes the total value of Switchblade awards to $111,054,202 since August 2017. The agreement has been concluded in April 2018 and involves the first Switchblade order for the needs of the United States Marine Corps.

The vice president and general manager of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment of AeroVironment, Kirk Flittie, explained “Switchblade is a highly effective and mature smart weapon system that delivers unmatched force protection and precision strike capabilities to American forces with minimal to no collateral effects. Man-portable and lightweight, Switchblade is a uniquely powerful LMAMS solution for today’s complex combat environments. AeroVironment stands ready, with a battle-proven product, supply chain and production system, to respond rapidly to this and future requirements to ensure U.S. and allied forces can proceed with certainty.”

The AeroVironment Switchblade features rapid-response force protection. The strike is precise with a range of up to 10 km from the launch location. Besides its extremely preciseness, it has specialized effects and wave-off capability and impresses with its compact dimensions – it fits in an ALICE pack and weighs about 2.5 kg. The warheads of the Switchblade are supplied by the Orbital ATK – a global leader in the aerospace and defence technologies sector.

Facebook Comments

Continue Reading

Global

Lockheed Martin Awarded BAE Systems a $100 Million+ Contract

Lockheed Martin Awarded BAE Systems a $100 Million+ Contract

LONDON (United Kingdom), May 23, 2018, Author: Bm News Team, Photo: BAE Systems

The global security and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, has awarded BAE Systems a contract exceeding the amount of $100 million. The duties of BAE Systems under the contract include maintenance and replacement of the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft electronic warfare systems, reported FlightGlobal.

The scope of the contract includes management of the supply chain for the electronic warfare system and maintenance of local warehouses with on-hand inventories of major components.

BAE Systems is the manufacturer of the electronic warfare suite for the needs of the F-35 of Lockheed Martin, known as the AN/ASQ-239 Barracuda system. The avionics and sensors of the system provide a 360-degree view of the area surrounding the aircraft, detecting and geo-locating electronic emitters for giving the pilots the opportunity of evading, engaging, countering or jamming threats. All these capabilities are of great importance in terms of the purposes for which the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft has been designed, and namely – ground attack and air superiority missions.

BAE Systems specified that the contract has been agreed to be based on performance-based logistics and that repair and upgrade of the ASQ-239 is included. Under the contract we will see the company supporting all F-35 versions and customers all over the world.

Facebook Comments

Continue Reading

Get more stuff

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Advertisement

TRENDS LAST 15 DAYS

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close