The Yomiuri daily reported that the Japan’s Ministry of Defense is looking to deploy its ground-launched Type-12 Surface-to-Ship Missile (Type 12 SSM) and extend their range from around 200 kilometers (124 miles) to more than 1,000 km — mainly to its far-flung southwestern islands and the Kyushu region. With an eye toward narrowing a cavernous “missile gap” with China, Japan is considering stockpiling more than 1,000 long-range cruise missiles, as tensions over Taiwan grow. The envisioned weapons, which would also be ship- and air-launch capable, would put the Chinese and North Korean coasts within striking distance.
China possesses around 300 ground-based cruise missiles and 1,900 ballistic missiles that could strike Japan. Nuclear-armed North Korea has hundreds of ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan, and its recent breakthroughs including the claim of testing a hypersonic weapon designed to evade defenses have also triggered concern in Tokyo. Japan does not possess any longer-range missiles, but the envisioned weapons would likely be at the core of government talks on acquiring a so-called counterstrike capability that would allow it to hit enemy bases and command-and-control centers. The Japanese government is currently planning to give the Japan Self-Defense Forces capability to strike ground targets with Type 12 SSM.
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 approved the development of an improved version of the Type 12 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile on December 18, 2020 by the Cabinet. According to Japanese newspapers, the range will be extended from 200 km to 900 km, with a future target of 1,500 km. 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 Ministry of Defense intends to launch the improved Type 12 SSM not only from the ground, but also from naval vessels and aircraft.