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Govt considers long-range cruise missile

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe government is considering introducing an air-to-ground and air-to-ship long-range cruise missile, which would be capable of striking a ground target or a ship at sea, government sources said.

The main aim of introducing this type of missile would be to attack an enemy ship using a fighter jet equipped with it in times of emergency, according to the sources.

It is also believed the government is aiming to bolster Japan’s deterrent power regarding North Korea, which is continuing its nuclear and missile development, the sources said. The government will include relevant costs in next fiscal year’s budget.

The missile on the table is a JASSM-ER system developed by the United States. As it cannot be loaded onto some fighter jets, including the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-15 in its current model, modification of the jets’ airframes and systems will be required for the installation.

The Defense Ministry is not asking that the relevant costs be included in its budgetary request for fiscal 2018. However, a government source said the ministry “is in the final stage of arrangements to include costs for research on airframe modifications to introduce it into the fiscal 2018 budget.”

A JASSM-ER system has a missile range of 900 kilometers or more. It means, without approaching North Korea, the missile would be able to attack the country’s inland area from the air over the Sea of Japan.

However, from the perspective of Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy, the government takes the stance of not possessing the capability of striking enemy bases. Under the Constitution, however, Japan is allowed to have the capability.

The government intends to discuss Japan’s stance regarding the capability of attacking enemy bases to prepare for new National Defense Program Guidelines to be released at the end of 2018.

The ministry, which will begin research on antiship missiles from fiscal 2018, also plans to add ground-attack capabilities to the missiles. The ministry aims to complete a test model in fiscal 2022, and it is expected to take several years to introduce the system. The government intends to introduce JASSM-ER missiles before this.Speech

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