JMSDF demonstrates enhanced BMD capabilities with first SM-3 Block IIA firing

by Ridzwan Rahmat

JS Maya , seen here firing the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor against a ballistic target in waters near Hawaii on 16 November 2022. (JMSDF)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has demonstrated its ability to engage in enhanced co-operative ballistic missile defence (BMD) operations by test-firing two sea-based variants of the SM-3 interceptor.

The firings were carried out by the Maya-class destroyers, JS Maya and JS Haguro, in waters near Hawaii on 16 and 19 November, respectively, the service disclosed in a statement on 21 November.

Maya deployed an SM-3 Block IIA interceptor while Haguro launched the Block IB variant of the same weapon. Both firings were supported by the US Navy (USN) and the US Missile Defense Agency, the JMSDF statement added.

The SM-3 is a family of interceptors that has been developed by Raytheon to destroy short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The weapon system utilises its own kinetic energy instead of an explosive warhead to destroy targets as part of its ‘hit-to-kill' method.


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Japan weighs up Tomahawk missile procurement

by Jon Grevatt

A Tactical ‘Tomahawk' Block IV cruise missile conducts a controlled flight test over the Naval Air Systems Command's western test range complex in Southern California. (US Navy)

Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is considering the procurement of Tomahawk cruise missiles as part of its plan to bolster Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) counterstrike capability.

The MoD indicated to Janes that a procurement of the Tomahawk is a possibility as it seeks to redefine the country's defence posture in the face of what is perceived in Tokyo as rapidly escalating regional threats.

Japan's Kyodo news agency, citing a Japanese government source, reported on 30 November that the MoD is considering the acquisition of “about 500” Tomahawk missiles from the United States government between 2023 and 2027.

A spokesperson for the MoD did not confirm these plans but said that decisions on the Tomahawk “are still under consideration”. The spokesperson added, “The MoD has not decided anything [in relation to] counterstrike capability.”


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US approves FS-LIDS counter-UAV system for Qatar

by Jeremy Binnie

A still from a video released by Raytheon shows a Coyote Block 2 being launched during tests at Yuma Proving Ground in August 2021. (Raytheon Technologies)

The US Department of State has approved the sale of counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems estimated to be worth USD1 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 29 November.

The approval covers 10 Fixed Site-Low, Slow, Small UAV Integrated Defeat Systems (FS-LIDS) and 200 Coyote Block 2 interceptors, as well as associated equipment and services.

The FS-LIDS is a ‘system of systems' developed by SRC Technology for the US Army and uses the company's AN/TPQ-50 counter-fire radar and electro-optic cameras to detect and track small UAVs. Targets can be engaged using an electronic warfare system or Coyote interceptors.

The Coyote was originally developed by Raytheon as a multi-purpose disposable UAV/loitering munition. The Block 2 has a small jet turbine engine, making it faster than the propellor-driven Block 1, and the original's fold-out wings were replaced with fixed ones along the side of its fuselage, making the new variant look more like a missile than a UAV.


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State of mines: Future of naval mine warfare in Asia-Pacific

by Nishant Kumar & Chinmay Kohad

The graphic above shows some of the key MCMVs operated across the Asia-Pacific that have onboard MCM systems such as unmanned systems, sonars, and sweeps.

Mines constitute the most cost-efficient anti-access, area-denial (A2/AD) naval weapon. NATO's Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence defines mines as small, easy to conceal, and cheap explosive devices that require minimal maintenance. These can be easily laid in the water or on seabed from almost any type of platform. Mines have been used by the navies both in defensive and offensive ways. They can be used to directly attack the adversary's ships or submarines or to protect one's own ships, submarines, or critical sea areas, ports, or waterways.

Perceived minefield risks require the deployment of a dedicated means of detecting, classifying, and neutralising the mines – or confirming their absence – imposing intolerable delays to dynamic operations and lending tactical mines a strategic utility. Advances in mine technology have led to countermeasures splitting into two main branches, sweeping and hunting, with mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) developed to perform either or both roles.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/naval-weapons/latest/jmsdf-demonstrates-enhanced-bmd-capabilities-with-first-sm-3-block-iia-firing

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has demonstrated its ability to engage in enhanced co-...

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