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US, Japan explore development of hypersonic interceptor

The Standard Missile-3 (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 if GPI joint development is pursued with Japan, the agency will pursue a construct similar to that used for the SM-3 missile. (US MDA)

The United States and Japan are exploring a partnership to jointly develop “glide phase intercept defensive capability” to counter hypersonic weapons, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) told Janes.

An MDA spokesperson told Janes that the US and Japan concurred to begin the discussion on the potential joint development of a future interceptor.

“These discussions are focused on exploring what such a partnership may look like and how it fits into the defence needs for each country,” the spokesperson said.

“Glide phase defensive capability is part of the hypersonic missile defence capabilities currently being explored with Japan,” the spokesperson added.

Under the partnership, the two countries will potentially develop a future naval interceptor for hypersonic defence, the spokesperson said. “The glide phase interceptor (GPI) under development by MDA is a naval missile.”

According to the spokesperson, the GPI specifications for the US and Japan will be the same.

“We have one set of requirements for GPI and intend for the missile to meet those requirements, regardless of co-operative development [with Japan] or the US industry partner chosen. MDA has not awarded contracts to manufacture GPI as this capability is still in development,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that MDA is in discussions with Japan on workshare and is examining options for the manufacture of components.

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