Japan to develop air-to-ship long-range cruise missiles
TOKYO, Kyodo - Japan has decided to develop for the first time air-to-ship long-range cruise missiles to be carried by fighter jets and capable of attacking a warship from outside the range of an enemy's weapons, government sources said Sunday.
The plan is aimed at boosting Japan's deterrence by extending the shooting range to more than 400 kilometers as China has been improving its naval capabilities, the sources said.
The forthcoming development will be based on Japan's supersonic XASM-3 air-to-ship missiles, which are said to have a range of not more than 200 km, they said.
The Defense Ministry will include expenses necessary for the new project in its draft budget at an early date.
In January, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in the Diet that he believes long-range cruise missiles are not weapons banned under the Constitution.
However, Article 9 of the Japanese supreme law renounces war as a sovereign right of the state, banning the possession of military forces and other “war potential.” (Kyodo)