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Japan's ATLA outlines development of Type 12 surface-to-ship missiles

The JSDF is upgrading the Type 12 missile systems into stand-off weapons. (Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force)

Japan is upgrading its Type 12 surface-to-ship missile (SSM) systems to enhance its stand-off defence capabilities.

A spokesperson from Japan's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Janes on 9 February that the Type 12 SSMs are undergoing upgrades under the Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP).

The spokesperson said that the objective of the Type 12 upgrade is a longer firing range. The Type 12 missile system will feature improvements such as increased length and a different shape to achieve that goal. In addition, the launch platform's engine is being upgraded for increased endurance to support longer operations. The spokesperson did not share further details on the Type 12 upgrade programme targets.

Janes previously reported that the MoD planned to extend the missile system's range from an estimated 200 km to 1,000 km, and also enable its launch from ships and aircraft.

The missile systems are being upgraded to counter the improvements in early warning capabilities and missile performance developed by “other countries“, and the expansion of “adversary threat zones“, said ATLA's spokesperson. He added that the MoD has been working on the acquisition, research, and development of stand-off missile systems to defend the country while ensuring the safety of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) personnel.

According to the spokesperson, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is the main contractor for the Type 12 upgrade programme. He said the improved ground-launched, ship-launched, and air-launched variants will be ready by 2025, 2026, and 2028 respectively.


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