Mainichi Shimbun reports that Tokyo intends to accelerate the development of the improved Type 12 anti-ship and deploy it earlier than planned. The new missile, which its range is increased from 200 to 900 km, will enter limited production while it undergoes testing. The previous plan was to start limited production from FY 2006, this has now been pushed up to as early as FY 2023. It will have a stealthy shape to reduce RCS, as well as high mobility to prevent interception from the enemy. It can attack not only naval vessels but also ground targets. The MoD intends to launch the improved Type 12 SSM not only from the ground, but also from naval vessels and aircraft.
The Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile is a truck-mounted anti-ship missile developed by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2012. It is an upgrade of the Type 88 Surface-to-Ship Missile. The Type 12 features INS with mid-course GPS guidance and better precision due to enhanced Terrain Contour Matching and target discrimination capabilities. The weapon is networked, where initial and mid-course targeting can be provided by other platforms, and also boasts shorter reload times, reduced lifecycle costs, and a range of 124 mi (108 nmi; 200 km). The missile shares the same Ka-band Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA) radar seeker with Japanese BVRAAM missile, AAM-4B.
The improved Type 12 SSM will be able to attack not only enemy naval vessels but also ground targets. In addition, the missiles will be updated with data about their targets via satellite communications during their flight, which will improve the accuracy of their attacks. The ship-launched derivative of Type 12, designated as Type 17 (SSM-2) missile has been put into service and it is to start deploying from Maya-class destroyer. The range has doubled to 400 kilometers and is also planning to re-apply for the improved version of the surface-to-ship system and the air-launched variant for the P-1 patrol aircraft.
Naval News reported that improvement of the Type 12 SSM is noteworthy for its relationship with the upgrade of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) to equip its F-15J fighter jets with long-range missiles. The Japanese government had planned to upgrade some of the F-15Js operated by the JASDF to replace their radar and electronic warfare equipment with the latest ones, and to enable them to carry JASSM-ER and LRASM. However, due to the higher-than-expected cost of the upgrade, it was not included in the FY2021 defense budget request. The original plan was to complete the upgrade of 20 F-15Js by FY2027, but that schedule is expected to be significantly delayed.