The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to introduce "high-speed gliding missiles" having a range of 300-500 kilometers which glide to their target using small wings attached to the projectile.
The target for delivery to the Ground Self Defence Forces (GSDF) is 2026, Mainichi newspaper reported today quoting unnamed sources. Details of industries involved in the project have so far not been provided.
Launched from ground level by rocket, the payload or warhead will detach and glide through the upper atmosphere at supersonic speed, using GPS and other technology to strike their target.
Due to their high speed, various complicated flight path trajectories are possible, making them hard to intercept. The United States, Russia, China and other countries are also currently developing high-speed missiles with gliding capabilities.
The total budget for developing the missiles is expected to be 18.4 billion Yen with 4.6 billion yen to the spent on technological development in the 2018 fiscal year.
The development is split into two stages. First, tests of a missile with a cylindrical nose and several small wings with a low gliding capacity are set to be held until the end of fiscal 2025, with the missiles equipped as early as the following fiscal year. Next, a flat missile head shaped like a talon with high gliding capacity will enter development, reportedly aiming for introduction after fiscal 2028.
If successful, this would become the first wholly indigenous weapons system developed by Japan since World War II.