Japan plans to arm its submarines with missiles

December 31, 2021

Maritime Self-Defense Forces submarines may soon be equipped with long-range cruise missiles capable of hitting ground targets, the Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

This move would seek to strengthen Japan’s deterrence by providing a powerful counterattack capability to deter a possible attack on the nation.

Missiles produced in the country would be launched underwater and give tangible form to the country’s self-defense capability to strike and destroy an enemy’s missile bases and other installations.

According to several government sources, the missiles should be deployed from the second half of this decade.

The National Security Strategy, which sets out Japan’s basic national security policy, will be revised at the end of 2022. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aims for these updated guiding principles to specify that Japan can have the ability to strike enemy bases in the name of self defense. If the government decided to have this capability, submarine-launched cruise missiles would be a powerful tool in any counterattack.

The government plans to deploy long-range cruise missiles as ranged missiles that would be developed as a modified version of the Land Self-Defense Force’s Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile, the sources said. Remote missiles are expected to have a range of approximately 1,000 kilometers and be used for counterattacks against enemy ships and other targets outside the range of enemy missiles. In the future, it is expected that these missiles can also be used to strike enemy bases.

Japanese missiles with ranged defense capabilities are currently designed to be carried by airplanes and surface ships. The Defense Ministry has included development costs of € 39.3 billion in the draft budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins in April.

According to the sources, options being considered include adding a vertical launch system to the submarines so that missiles can be fired without ships surfacing and fire the missiles from existing torpedo tubes. The Self-Defense Forces already have anti-ship missiles that can be launched from torpedo tubes, although they have a shorter range than ranged missiles.

China has several ballistic missiles capable of reaching Japan. In recent years, Beijing has stepped up its military provocations as its naval force, which includes aircraft carriers, has become increasingly active in the waters around Japan and in the East China and South China Seas. North Korea is also continuing its missile and nuclear development programs.

Maintaining the counterattack capability of submarines that might be anywhere underwater could make Japan more difficult to attack, even if a nation invading Japan launches a preemptive strike that inflicts massive damage to them. aircraft and surface ships of the SDS.

The SDF has 21 submarines, equipped with world-class technologies such as superb cruising performance and the ability to navigate silently underwater to escape detection by enemy forces.

The government wants to use the capabilities of these submarines to prevent a ballistic missile attack or an invasion of the islands of Japan by a naval fleet.


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