The Japanese government is set to begin research on anti-ship missiles with ground-attack capabilities from fiscal 2018 and complete a test model by fiscal 2022.
In the meantime, the government plans to introduce the Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) system and the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) produced by Norway’s Kongsberg, Japan News reported quoting unnamed government sources Tuesday.
The government will include relevant costs for the purchase of JASSM-ER systems in next fiscal year’s budget, sources said.
As JASSM-ER cannot be loaded onto some existing fighter jets, including the F-15 in its current model, the jets’ airframes and systems will have to undergo modifications for the installation. According to the sources, the government “is in the final stage of arrangements to include costs for research on airframe modifications to introduce it into the fiscal 2018 budget.”
Japan's interest in having its own missiles has achieved urgency after recent North Korean missile tests which bypassed US supplied anti-missile systems leaving Japanese cities completely exposed.