Following the rising aggression of Beijing, and North Korea, Japan is all set to purchase Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States. The reports are that Tokyo is in the final phase of locking the deal with the US government. The missile can hit a target over the range of 1,000 km (620 miles), which in range covers the region of China.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made Japan worried that China might use its force against Taiwan. It is to be noted here that in the past years, Japan had been constantly working on bolstering its’ defence sector for which it had also soared up the defence budget amount.
Earlier this month, North Korea fired ballistic missiles over Japan, which flew over the country and landed in the pacific. Following the incident an alarm was raised by the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida calling the act as “outrageous” and alerting two regions Hokkaido and Aomori Prefecture. The commute was also halted in these regions, and Tokyo noted that this provocation will not be taken as ‘lightly’.
Including India, US, and other member states of the United Nations Security Council condemned the missile launch of North Korea.
It is undoubtedly clear, the country wants to be fully prepared in case any unfavourable circumstances arise. As stated in its’ Article 9 of the constitution, Japan’s military strictly is entitled to play a defensive role.
Panic has also been raised in Tokyo, after North Korea officially declared itself as a state with nukes this September, giving a statement that the country required it to counter the United States.
Not only North Korea, but China also recently fired missiles in the water area, which was just 160 km away from Japan. This was done indeed with the motive to take the edge over Tokyo and to scare the state. In addition, during the 20th Communist Party Congress held the previous week, the Chinese President, XI Jingping, announced to boost the defence system and build its military as “world-class”, adding that Beijing will never “renounce the right to use force to resolve the Taiwan issue”, as stated by the Moneycontrol.
In response to these frequent firing missile actions of North Korea and China, Japan along with the United States and South Korea conduct military exercises, which works as a reply and also as a way of preparation.
What is a Tomahawk cruise missile?
It is a long-rang, jet-powered subsonic cruise missile which at present is utilised by the Navy of the US in ship- and submarine-based land-attack operations. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is manufactured by General Dynamics to replace medium- to long-range, low-altitude missiles. Since the original design, so far at least 6 variants of the missile have been designed.
Other than Japan, Australia and Canada are interested buyers of the US-developed missile to secure their defence systems. In 2018, the United States used 66 missiles against Syria with the target being the chemical weapons facilities.
The US, a few days later gave the green signal to sell Standard Missile SM-6 to Japan, in order to assist the state in strengthening its “capabilities against adversaries”. The deal has been locked for nearly $450 Million. Tokyo made the request to purchase a total of thirty-two SM-6 missiles, to be delivered in two tranches of 16 each.
Speaking on the deal, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency of the United States, quoted, “It will also provide the US-JAPAN security alliance with the latest and the most advanced capabilities, reducing Japan’s reliance on the US forces for the defence of Japan and further improving US-Japan military interoperability”.
About SM-6 Missile
Initially produced in 2009, it is often referred to as RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), used by the Navy of America. Designed for the purpose of anti-air warfare (ER-AAW), the missile holds the ability against fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as anti-ship cruise missiles in flight, both over sea & land, and terminal ballistic missile defence.
SM-6 provides extended range and increased firepower as compared to SM-2 version of the missile. Exporting the SM-6 version of the version was confirmed in the year 2017.