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Japan announces long-range missile plans
JSM missile. © Raytheon

Japan announces long-range missile plans

Tokyo has announced plans to acquire air-launched standoff missiles, significantly extending the country's potential strike range against enemy targets.

Japan's Ministry of Defence has announced plans to acquire standoff missiles, which would effectively allow the country's defence forces to strike enemy targets well beyond the range of its existing systems.

The missiles in question are the Raytheon/Kongsberg Joint Strike Missile (JSM), to be installed on the country's future F-35As, and the Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), which would be fitted to Japan's F-15s. The two weapons have reported ranges of around 500km and 1,000km, respectively.

The MoD says the decision has been made in view of the increasingly severe security environment around Japan. It underlines that the new weapons will be introduced exclusively for the purpose of defending Japan and do not represent a change in the policy of exclusive defence. Under the existing division of roles, Japan will continue to depend on the U.S. for offensive actions.

Additional funding is to be requested under the FY2018 budget to cover procurement of the standoff missiles.

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