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Japan, US firm up co-operation to develop Glide Phase Interceptor

The Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block IIA missile, pictured above launching from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, is jointly developed by the US and Japan. The MDA said the GPI joint development will be pursued in a construct similar to that used for the SM-3. (US MDA)

Japan and the US have firmed up their co-operation to jointly develop a Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI).

According to the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD), the two countries signed a partnership agreement on 15 May to promote collaboration on research and development of the GPI.

The development of the GPI will be initiated in 2024 and it is scheduled to be completed in the 2030s, the MoD said. The GPI is envisaged to improve Japan's integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) capabilities, and deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-US alliance, the MoD added.

The MoD said it will work “closely with the US Department of Defense to ensure the success of this joint development, and will strive to strengthen the alliance through joint development”.

“In recent years, missile-related technologies such as hypersonic weapons have been improved dramatically in areas around Japan, and have been significantly strengthened both in quality and quantity,” according to the MoD.

Japan and the US seek to develop the GPI to counter hypersonic weapons, the MoD added.

A ministry spokesperson told Janes in March that the MoD will award a contract to develop the GPI to a local Japanese industry partner in 2024 and “will embody and verify a design of each part for which Japan is responsible”.

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