Japan to upgrade missile interception system

Tokyo, Feb 15 (IANS) Japan is planning to acquire a greater range of ship-borne interceptors and has also considered buying a US land-based high-altitude interception system, the media reported on Monday.

The defence ministry plans to develop an improved version of the SM-3 interceptor rockets carried by Aegis vessels and is examining the US military’s ground-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, known as THAAD, The Japan Times reported.

This comes after North Korea sent a missile – which it dubbed a space rocket – on a trajectory that took it more than 2,000 km on February 7. The launch mirrored one Pyongyang carried out in December 2012.

Four of the Maritime Self-Defence Force’s six Aegis destroyers are currently equipped with SM-3 interceptors. The ministry will upgrade the remaining two by fiscal 2018 and bring them into full compatibility.

In addition, the ministry will procure two more Aegis ships by fiscal 2020 to increase the total to eight.

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