Cabinet OK's introducing 2 Aegis Ashore units

Trevor Jackson
December 20, 2017

The nation's Cabinet on Tuesday approved the acquisition of two Aegis Ashore systems capable of defending the entire country against incoming missiles. The government plans to deploy the two batteries by 2023 but has yet to make a decision on the locations of the new missile defense systems.

"North Korea's nuclear and missile development has become a more serious and imminent threat to our security, entering in a new phase", a Cabinet statement said.

Japan chose Aegis Ashore ahead of other land-based missile defenses, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system that the US recently deployed to South Korea.

The two units will be able to cover nearly all of the nation's territory and are expected to enhance its ability to intercept North Korean ballistic missiles.

Each Aegis Ashore battery is estimated to cost approximately $8.9 billion, reports Bloomberg.

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The government has made a decision to add a new layer of protection to the already existing two tiers of missile defences, the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors and the Air Self-Defense Force's ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors.

The Defense Ministry has requested 730 million yen (about $6.5 million) for initial land surveys and studies on introducing the land-based Lockheed Martin Corp. system in the budget for the fiscal year starting April, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said earlier this month. It is the sea-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (Aegis BMD). THAAD's coverage area is smaller than Aegis Ashore and it would require more units to cover Japan, defense officials said. The United States developed the system and it has already been deployed by US forces in Romania and Poland.

To expedite the introduction of Aegis Ashore, the ministry plans to earmark 2.8 billion yen for information-gathering activities in the supplementary budget for the current fiscal year ending March.

In late November, North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile that fell in the exclusive economic zone of Japan. It will be equipped with newly developed SM-3 Block 2A interceptors with enhanced defensive coverage and accuracy compared with the SM-3.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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