Japan is upgrading its Type 12 surface-to-ship missiles to improve their range and defense capabilities.
The enhancement includes increasing the length and changing the missile’s shape while the engine is being remodeled to heighten its endurance.
In December 2020, the Japanese Ministry of Defense approved the upgrade to extend the defense systems’ range from 200 kilometers (124 miles) to 900 kilometers (559 miles), with a further increase to 1,500 kilometers (933 miles) planned for the future.
Main contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will carry out the upgrade. The improvement is scheduled for completion between 2025 and 2028.
Type 12 Missile for F-2 Fighters
Japan is also planning to install a modified version of the Type 12 on its F-15-derived Mitsubishi F-2 multi-purpose fighter jet.
The air-launched variant would provide improved range due to altitude boost and increased speeds. Moreover, the country’s Maritime P-1 patrol planes are capable of carrying eight Type 12 missiles.
The country’s jets and warships are also using a variant of the missile called Type 17, which has a range of 250 miles (402 kilometers).
About Type 12 Missiles
Developed in 2012, the Type 12 anti-ship cruise missile is mounted on an eight-wheel truck. The missile is an upgrade of the Type 88 surface-to-ship missile with a battery consisting of four ammunition carriers, four launch vehicles, two radar vehicles, and two trucks with communication systems and fire control.
Each Type 12 launcher has six missiles weighing 1,500 pounds (68 kilograms) that target a vessel through a combination of GPS and terrain-contour mapping for navigation.
With a range of over 124 miles (200 kilometers), the missile skims approximately 20 feet (60 meters) above the sea. Its active electronically scanned array radar seeker can distinguish whether or not a ship is an appropriate target for attack.
It offers enhanced precision through mid-course GPS guidance and Terrain Contour Matching.
Four batteries of the missile system are deployed with the 5th Surface-to-Ship Missile Regiment at Kengun in Kumamoto while two batteries are stationed at Amami Oshima, Ishigaki, and Miyako islands.