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XASM-4 Stand-Off Anti-Shipping Missile

The Japanese government has decided to develop a new type of long-range "standoff missile" that can attack targets from outside enemy range. The government approved the new missile defense policy at a Cabinet meeting on 18 December 2020. The Cabinet decision did not directly touch on the issue of Japan's possession of the capability to attack enemy bases to destroy ballistic missiles inside adversaries' territory. It only stated that the government will continue to study the strengthening of Japan's deterrence. The "standoff missiles" would be capable of attacking targets outside adversaries' firing range.

The so-called standoff missiles can be launched from ships and aircraft. Its estimated the new missiles will have a range of up to 1,000 kilometers, putting North Korea and parts of China and Russia within the target zone. We must establish a strong missile defense system as the threat posed to our country by North Korea's missiles is growing, Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo said.

As part of the new policy, the government will continue to examine ways to strengthen Japan's deterrence capacity without specific mention of strike capability. That provision is believed to be a concession to Komeito, the coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. A commitment to upholding Japan's exclusively defense-oriented national security policy, as based on Article 9 of the Constitution which stipulates the renunciation of war, is central to the Komeito platform.

The Defence Ministry decided in March 2019 to develop the nation's first domestically manufactured air-to-ship long-range cruise missile, to be mounted on Air Self-Defence Force fighter jets and capable of attacking a warship from outside of an adversary's self-defense range. The new missile, which is to be developed in response to the rapid advance in the strike capability of the Chinese Navy, would reinforce Japan's deterrence by extending the stand-off firing range to more than 400km.

The ministry aims to put the new missile into practical use within a few years. The new missile is considered to be of a "stand-off defence capability", enabling attacks from beyond the range of adversaries. Stand-off defence capability was stipulated in the new National Defence Program Guidelines adopted by the Cabinet in December 2018.

The new missile is envisaged to have a range of over 400km by making improvements to such things as the fuel-load of ASM-3 missiles, with the improved capability of anti-air missiles mounted on Chinese warships in mind. The ASM-3 missile, whose full-fledged development began in fiscal 2010, has a reduced range equivalent to that of Japan's existing missiles because of "a political consideration that (a missile with a greater range) could be perceived as one capable of striking enemy bases", a senior Defence Ministry official has said. However, in order to effectively counter a missile strike launched by the Chinese Navy, a missile with double the range of the ASM-3 is considered necessary.

China has debuted a high-performance warship dubbed the "Chinese Aegis destroyer", which is mounted with missiles with an estimated range of about 150km. Between 2013 to 2018 alone, more than 15 such destroyers are said to have gone into commission, and the number is expected to rise further.

The missile is an improved deevelopment of the Type-12 ground-launched ASM currently in service with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). The Type-12 ASM is in turn an upgraded version of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Type 88 surface-to-ship missile, with a reported range of 200 kilometers (124 miles), which has been in service since 2015. The range of the new ASM is expected to be extended to up to 400 kilometers.

Testing of the new ASM is slated to continue until 2022. The P-1 maritime patrol aircraft equipped with four upgraded Type-12 missiles conducted its first test flight from the Atsugi Naval Air Facility on February 10, 2020. The P-1 will reportedly carry up to eight new missiles replacing Type 91 ASMs that currently arm the JMSDFs fleet of P-1s and P-3C Orions.

The government plans to substantially extend the range of the Ground Self-Defense Force's existing ground-to-ship missiles. The new longer-range cruise missiles would be capable of also being launched from ships and aircraft.

Japans Defense Ministry planned to acquire standoff missiles by March 2022 with a range of 500 km, The Japan Times reported 09 September 2020 citing government sources. Japan is set to buy Norwegian Joint Strike Missile (JSM) anti-surface and anti-ship missiles. It can be mounted on F-35 to make use of the jets stealth capabilities.

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (KONGSBERG) entered into contract with Japan 11 March 2019 to supply the initial deliveries of JSM (Joint Strike Missile) for their fleet of F-35 fighter aircraft. The JSM development started in 2008 and was completed in mid-2018 after a series of successful validation test firings. This is an important international breakthrough which demonstrates the importance of cooperation between Norwegian authorities, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Norwegian industry, says CEO of KONGSBERG Geir Hy.

The JSM is the only long-range sea- and land-target missile that can be carried internally in the F-35 and thus ensuring the aircrafts low-signature (stealth) capabilities. JSM is a new missile that will expand the overall capabilities of the F-35. No other weapon on the market today, can perform the same types of missions. The international F-35 user consortium is showing great interest in the JSM and KONGSBERG is very proud to have been selected by Japan to provide the JSM for their F-35 fleet. This is a major milestone for the JSM program, entering into the production phase, says Eirik Lie, President, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS.

In February 2020 the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed its intention to acquire the Lockheed Martin AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) and the AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Forces (JASDFs) fleet of F-15J Eagle multirole fighter aircraft.

Japan is also looking to mount Lockheed Martin Corp's extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER) on its F-15 fighters. JASSM is a long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. and allied forces. Designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets, JASSMs significant standoff range keeps aircrews well out of danger from hostile air defense systems.

A 2,000-pound class weapon with a penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead, JASSM employs precision routing and guidance in adverse weather, day or night, using a state-of-the-art infrared seeker in addition to the anti-jam GPS to find a specific aimpoint on the target. Its stealthy airframe makes it extremely difficult to defeat. JASSM-ER is an extended long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision-guided standoff missile designed to meet the needs of the U.S. and allied Warfighters. JASSM-ER shares the same powerful capabilities and stealthy characteristics of the combat-proven JASSM, but with more than two-and-a-half times the range - >500 nmi / >925 km.

Another acquisition that the government might make is Lockheed Martins AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), with a range of 300 nmi (560 km; 350 mi). LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile, with 1,000 lb (450 kg) blast-fragmentation penetrator, based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range (JASSM-ER). The acquisitions will be made under the medium-term defense buildup program for fiscal 2019-2023. LRASM is a long range, precision-guided anti-ship missile leveraging off of the successful JASSM-ER heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters. Armed with a penetrator and blast fragmentation warhead, LRASM employs precision routing and guidance, day or night in all weather conditions. The missile employs a multi-modal sensor suite, weapon data link, and enhanced digital anti-jam Global Positioning System to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of numerous ships at sea.

It was revealed on 28 December 2020 that the range of the new anti-ship guided missiles that the government is conducting research and development will reach about 2,000 kilometers. If the deployment is realized, it will be the longest range of missiles owned by the Self-Defense Forces.

Regarding the introduction of long-range missiles, the government explained that it "effectively blocks the opponent's attacks while ensuring the safety of SDF personnel." The aim is to make it easier to deal with the situation by having a missile that exceeds the range of the opponent, and it is mainly envisioned to defend the islands.

The Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency began research on the new anti-ship guided ammunition in 2018, and by the second year of Reiwa, a total of 10.5 billion yen was allocated. The company plans to develop a prototype by FY4 and conduct performance tests within the same year.

The range is about 2,000 km, and even if it is launched from Japan on the ground, China and North Korea will be in range. Japan will also pursue stealth ability to reduce the detectability from radar and high mobility to prevent interception from enemies with complicated movements. In addition to ground launch, it also enables launch from ships and aircraft.

When deployed in the Nansei Islands, 1500 km will cover Pyongyang and 2,000 km will cover Beijing. The government decided to postpone the examination of the enemy base attack capability indefinitely in a cabinet decision in December 2020, but if North Korea and China recognize the SDF's long-range missile as "enemy base attack capability", it will attack Japan. It can also be expected to have the effect of discouraging itself.

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Page last modified: 08-01-2021 14:01:34 ZULU