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Japan receives greenlight for long-range missile acquisition

Japan receives greenlight for long-range missile acquisition

The US State Department has approved a request for Raytheon-built long-range missiles from the Japanese government.

The US State Department has approved a request for Raytheon-built long-range missiles from the Japanese government.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has announced the approval of an order for up to 32 Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles from the Japanese government.

The order, valued at approximately US$450 million (AU$710 million) includes the provision of:

  • MK 21 vertical launch system (VLS) canisters;
  • obsolescence engineering, integration, and test activity;
  • canister handling equipment;
  • spares;
  • training and training equipment/aids;
  • technical publications/data;
  • US government and contractor engineering; and
  • technical and logistical support services.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region,” the DSCA noted in a statement.

The SM-6 missile is billed as “three missiles in one”, performing air warfare, ballistic missile defence and anti-surface warfare missions. 

The capability is designed to provide naval forces with greater flexibility in limited ship space.

“The proposed sale will improve Japan’s air defence and ballistic missile defence capabilities against potential adversaries in the region,” the DSCA added.

“It will also provide the US-Japan Security Alliance with the latest and most advanced capabilities, reducing Japan's reliance on US Forces for the defence of Japan and further improving US-Japan military interoperability.”

SM-6 missile manufacturer Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD) is expected to station representatives in Japan, joined by US government officials, to support potential delivery and integration.

This would include program and technical reviews, as well as the provision of training and maintenance support.

This latest proposed sale comes just months after the Japanese government secured approval for its request to purchase 150 AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs); and three AIM-120 AMRAAM Guidance Sections from the United States via a foreign military sale.

The Raytheon-built missiles are billed as sophisticated, air dominance weapons, leveraging a combination of inertial guidance, midcourse updates, and an onboard active radar to identify a target and complete the intercept.

The weapons system is deployed by a total of 40 countries and has been integrated into the F-15A/B/C/D/E Eagle/Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-22 Raptor, Eurofighter Typhoon, JAS-39 Gripen, Tornado and Harrier.

The air-to-air missile is also used by the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS).

The latest version of the missile has been modified for deployment from F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

[Related: Japan targets advanced air-to-air missile acquisition]

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