Japan’s Self Defense Force (JSDF) is accelerating the program approved by the country’s Cabinet in December 2020 to both improve and expand its surface to ship missile inventory as a key cornerstone to its new defense strategy.
Contained in the ministry’s just released budget request is funding for not only increased production by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries designed Type 12 truck launched anti-ship missiles but significant performance enhancements. These include extending their current 200 km range to initially 900 km and subsequently to 1500 km. The “Enhanced Type 12” is to begin fielding by 2024 and will include a lower stealth radar cross-section to reduce their signature.
The missile uses pre-programmed terrain following flight path that can be updated by data link. Traveling at Mach 1.5+ only 5-6 meters above the sea surface with terminal Ka band guidance the missile has on-board target discrimination capabilities. The missile has a high explosive penetrating warhead that is also effective against land targets.
The ground launched Type 12 uses the Type 02 8×8 heavy tactical truck carrying six (6) missile containers. It can be readily concealed while offering high mobility to rapidly relocate. Batteries include spare missile transporters and reloading vehicles allowing multiple target engagements.
It is understood that missile units deployment is to focus on southwest Japan and the southern islands.
Plans also include the development of aircraft and ship launched versions of the improved Type 12 missile. It is reported that both the P-1 patrol aircraft and Mitsubishi F-2 (derived from the F-15J) will be able to carry the missile.
In addition, the new Maya Class Guide Missile Destroyers (DDG) are understood to be being equipped with the Type 17 missile derived from the Enhanced Type 12.
by Stephen W. Miller