The Japanese Defense Ministry is developing supersonic glide bombs which would be launched by a missile at a very high altitude and then fall at supersonic speed toward the target.
The ministry aims to put glide bombs into practical use in fiscal 2026 by moving up its initial development schedule by about seven years, Jiji Press reported quoting unknown officials.
The glide bombs’ missiles will reportedly be fired from mobile launchers. Due to their long range, glide bombs, along with Japan’s planned long-range cruise missiles, could be construed as offensive in nature and therefore raise concerns in neighboring countries.
The high flight speed of a glide bomb as well absence of a guidance system makes it difficult to intercept both physically and electronically. The bombs are expected to be launched from islands around an invaded or occupied remote island.
The ministry is promoting the deployment of surface-to-ship guided missile units on Okinawa’s Miyako and Ishigaki islands in response to the Chinese naval activity in waters around the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands.
The practical use of glide bombs requires a posture control system and the technology to make the bombs withstand the high temperatures caused by friction with the atmosphere during flight.
The ministry aims to develop an early deployment model and an improved one in stages, and finish the testing in fiscal 2025, according to the officials.
The ministry started setting aside funding for research and development on glide bombs this fiscal year. It has requested ¥13.8 billion in related spending for next year.