Strengthening Ballistic Missile Defense, Japan Successfully Tests Fire Standard Missile (SM)

Strengthening Ballistic Missile Defense, Japan Successfully Tests Fire Standard Missile (SM)
Japan Successfully Tests Fire Standard Missile (SM)

Tokyo - Japan successfully tested a ballistic missile defense system from two destroyers near Hawaii. Japan used two Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force destroyers JS Haguro and JS Maya to fire Standard Missile (SM) missiles.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said on November 21 that two direct firing events occurred during the two-week exercise period. The activity, named Japan Flight Test Mission-07 (JFTM-07) in collaboration with the US Navy, also demonstrated the capabilities of the Standard Missile (SM) missile.

The SM-3 Block IIA missile was developed through the cooperation of the two countries to intercept medium and medium range ballistic missiles. The SM-3 Block IIA missile fired from the JS Maya destroyer successfully hit the target of the T4-E medium-range ballistic missile. The destroyer JS Maya was equipped with an Aegis tracker and destroyed targets over the Pacific Ocean. This is the first time that a Maya class destroyer has conducted a test firing of an SM-3 missile.

The next firing exercise used the SM-3 Block IB missile and the SM-2 Block IIIB missile from the JS Haguro destroyer. The shooting succeeded in destroying the short-range ballistic missile targets and the BQM-177 drone.

Nikkei Asia reported the test also involved the Cooperative Engagement Capability installed on both destroyers. The JS Maya ship detects and tracks missile targets, then the JS Haguro ship shoots down the target using data from the JS Maya ship. MDA said that this test was an important milestone in the cooperation between Japan and the US in building missile defense.

This cooperation is to support the modernization of the JMSDF ballistic missile defense and the certification of the Japanese Aegis Weapon System Baseline class J7 and Maya. The SM-3 block IIA interceptor missile is a joint development project between Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The interceptor missile is larger in diameter and maneuverable, with an improved advanced homing system and carries a kinetic warhead.

Japan has eight Aegis destroyers equipped for air and missile defense. Japan also plans to build two special missile defense ships centered around the Lockheed-Martin SPY-7(V)1 radar it has allocated for two Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense facilities.

However the Aegis Ashore project was abandoned due to technical difficulties. Then it was decided that Japan would build two ships equipped with the Aegis system to replace land-based facilities. The ships will be 210 meters long by 40 meters wide and displace around 20,000 tonnes. Each ship will have a crew of 110 and will also carry domestically produced SM-6 missiles for air defense and Type 12 anti-ship missiles.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the ships are planned for commissioning in early 2028 and 2029. The SPY-7(V)1 radar uses state-of-the-art equipment and software derived from MDA's state-of-the-art Long Range Discrimination Radar located in Clear, Alaska.

MDA announced in August that it had successfully demonstrated the Release 3 build of the Aegis Baseline J7.B software together with the SPY-7(V)1 radar for the ASEV program.

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