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Japan accelerates Type 12 deployment

The upgraded Type 12 SSM will have a range of 1,000 km. The original version (pictured above) has a range of 200 km. While the original Type 12 SSM was designed as a land-based anti-ship missile, the upgraded variant can be launched from land, aircraft, and surface combatants. (Japan Ground Self-Defense Force)

The Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) has accelerated the deployment of the upgraded Type 12 surface-to-ship missile (SSM) by a year, the MoD said in a press release in mid-December.

According to the MoD, the missile's deployment – originally scheduled in 2026 – has been accelerated to 2025 to strengthen stand-off defence capabilities.

With the early deployment of Type 12, Japan aims to strengthen its counter-strike missile capabilities as part of its National Defense Strategy (NDS) to address rising military threats posed by China, North Korea, and Russia.

In April the MoD signed a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to develop and mass-produce upgraded Type 12 SSMs.

In the 2023 budget, the ministry allocated JPY33.8 billion (USD235 million) to develop the prototype of an upgraded Type 12. The MoD estimates that the total cost of the missile's research and development will be JPY150 billion.

The upgraded Type 12 SSM has a range of 200–1,000 km, and features a larger missile length, a modified shape, an up-to-date command (UTDC) link to allow the missile to receive in-flight target updates, and higher engine endurance to support longer operations.

The MoD initiated the programme to upgrade Type 12 SSMs that can be launched from land, aircraft, and ships in December 2020.

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