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Japan’s ATLA details upcoming R&D projects

03 October 2019
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A Japanese F-2 fighter launching the indigenously developed ASM-3 anti-ship missile. Source: ATLA

The Japan Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has revealed new details about some of its main research and development (R&D) projects for the coming years.

ATLA officials told Jane's on 3 October that the agency has requested funds for these projects, including JPY2.4 billion (USD22.3 billion) for fiscal year (FY) 2020 to conduct research on next-generation underwater mine detection technology. This six-year project is aimed at developing real-time signal-processing technology using low-frequency/high-frequency synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) for mine detection.

In 2018 Japan and France agreed to work on the specifics of this technology as part of a joint research project.

ATLA officials also said that the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) asked for JPY800 million for FY 2020 to develop a multi-purpose surveillance radar that would incorporate the roles of service's low-altitude, coastal, counter-battery radar. The aim of this seven-year project is not only to develop a new radar capable of detecting weapons or platforms with a low radar cross section (RCS), but also to help reduce production and maintenance costs.

Officials also said that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) requested about JPY16.1 billion for FY 2020 to extend the range of its first locally developed supersonic air-launched anti-ship missile (ASM), known as the ASM-3. The project is aimed at boosting Japan's deterrence and is expected to be completed by FY 2025. The missile's range is expected to be extended to more than 400 km from the current 200 km.

The ASM-3, which has an estimated top speed of Mach 3, was jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the MoD in 2017 as a successor to Japan's Type 93 series of missiles. It is expected to be carried by JASDF's F-2 multirole fighters.

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