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Japan to Buy 400 Tomahawk Land-attack Missiles to Bolster Counterstrike Capabilities

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Japan to Buy 400 Tomahawk Land-attack Missiles to Bolster Counterstrike Capabilities

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US Navy USS Chafee (DDG 90) Launches Block V Tomahawk Long-range Subsonic Cruise Missiles
US Navy USS Chafee (DDG 90) Launches Block V Tomahawk Long-range Subsonic Cruise Missiles

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that the government plans to purchase 400 U.S.-made Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) for possible use in the exercise of counterstrike capabilities. It is the first time for the government to disclose how many Tomahawk missiles it plans to buy. Japanese government is approaching the U.S. government to purchase the U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missile for attacking enemy base, counterattack. The Japanese government decided to purchase the Tomahawk cruise missile before their domestic improved range “Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile” start full-scale operation. It plans to deploy the latest Tomahawk model with a range of about 1,600 kilometers in fiscal 2026 to 2027. Meanwhile, Kishida avoided mentioning how much per missile the government will spend.

Japan News reported that Kishida was responding to a question from Yuichi Goto of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, at a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet. The government clarified the possession of counterstrike capabilities when it revised the country’s three key national security documents late last year. Under these revised documents, Japan has decided to revamp its defense posture and beef up its defense budget to two percent of GDP in the next five to ten years. What are the implications for the Korean peninsula? How does Japan see North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) and South Korea (the Republic of Korea, ROK).

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Type 12 Truck-mounted Surface-to-ship Missile (SSM)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Type 12 Truck-mounted Surface-to-ship Missile (SSM)

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a long-range, all-weather, jet-powered, subsonic cruise missile that is primarily used by the United States Navy and Royal Navy in ship and submarine-based land-attack operations. It was intended to fill the role of a medium- to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a naval surface warfare platform, and featured a modular design accommodating a wide variety of warhead, guidance, and range capabilities. At least six variants and multiple upgraded versions of the TLAM have been added since the original design was introduced, including air-, sub-, and ground-launched variants with conventional and nuclear armaments. By 2019, the only variants in service were non-nuclear, sea-launched variants. They are currently only manufactured at BAE systems in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

The Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile is a truck-mounted anti-ship missile developed by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2012. 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 MoD approved the development of an improved version of the Type 12 SSM on December 18, 2020 by the Cabinet. 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.

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