devises hypersonic plan – media


Tokyo hopes to upgrade air defense weapons and even develop its own hypersonic missile by 2030

Japan plans to redesign some of its existing surface-to-air missiles to intercept hypersonic weapons, Kyodo News reported Monday, suggesting the move is part of a broader strategy to “counter-attack capabilities” in the coming decade.

The military hopes to complete upgrades to its Type-03 intermediate-range missile and put the new model into mass production by 2029, according to the outlet, which has an undisclosed number. “source familiar with the case.”

The redesign is part of an effort to change the Japanese “comprehensive air and missile defence”, and will reportedly be set out in a revised National Security Strategy to be released before the end of the year, the source added.

The Type-03 SAM platform, designed and manufactured by Mitsubishi, entered service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JFSDF) in 2003 and currently has an operational range of approximately 50 km (31 miles).

However, since hypersonic munitions travel at more than five times the speed of sound and fly along erratic trajectories, the Type-03 and similar air defense systems have difficulty tracking and neutralizing such weapons. The source told Kyodo that the Type-03 will be “improved to predict and track the flight path of hypersonic weapons and to detect them by radar,” but added that it remains unclear whether such upgrades will be enough to counteract the new technology.

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After a meeting between Japanese Defense Secretary Yasukazu Hamada and his US counterpart Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in September, the two sides announced that they would work together on research into hypersonic weapons as Washington has yet to develop its own missile.

Like the United States, it appears Japan is already making progress on the project, with Nikkei reporting last week that Tokyo hopes to deploy a hypersonic missile by 2030. “deterrence” capabilities, including the purchase of US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles and others “battle tested” hardware from Washington, upgrades to some of its own existing ammunition, as well as the development of a new hypersonic weapon.

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