Japan to use new missile interception system on aegis destroyers in 2020

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Japan will use a new missile interception system on its two destroyers, equipped with U.S. Aegis missile defence systems between 2019 and 2020, local media reported on Thursday, citing sources in the government.

The system will commence operation in 2019-2020. The new information exchange system, developed by the U.S., will allow using radar data from a destroyer equipped with Aegis system in order to intercept missiles by another destroyer, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun said.

The current information exchange system is imperfect and requires additional radar guidance at the ship, which will conduct interception.

The Japanese government also considers a possibility to install this interception system on some other warships after carrying out necessary technical upgrade, the news outlet added.

Moreover, this new system can be also used at two U.S. land-based Aegis Ashore missile defence systems, which are expected to be deployed to Japan by 2023.

On December 19, 2017, the Japanese government announced its decision to deploy the Aegis Ashore systems on the country’s territory in order to protect the Japanese citizens from the threat posed by a potential missile attack by North Korea.

Tokyo plans to install the missile defence units in the prefectures of Akita and Yamaguchi.

Japan is currently protected by four destroyers equipped with U.S. Aegis missile defence systems carrying SM-3 intercept missiles as well as surface-to-air modernised Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) ballistic missile interceptors.

Sea-based Aegis systems are capable of intercepting ballistic missile at altitudes of over 310 miles.

Land-based Aegis systems have similar capabilities. Japan’s missile defence is planned to be strengthened by equipping the Aegis systems with a new type of SM3 Block2A missile, the range of which is almost three times higher than those of the SM3.