Japan has advanced the procurement of Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US by a year.
Tokyo will start receiving the Raytheon missiles from fiscal 2025 in light of the “worsening” security situation in Asia, Kyodo News reported citing Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara.
Japan will acquire 200 Tomahawk Block 4s between fiscal 2025 and 2027.
The second lot of 200 missiles will be of the Block 5, Kyodo News revealed citing sources.
Advancing the missile’s delivery will “contribute to the drastic strengthening of our country’s defense capabilities sooner,” the outlet quoted Kihara.
It added that the features of the two versions are “more or less the same” and the launching system is compatible with both the variants.
The Block 4 has a stated range of 1,600 kilometers (994 miles), while the Block 5’s exact range is not disclosed.
The missile can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads with a yield of 5 to 150 kilotons and 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms), respectively.
For Counter Strike Capability
Japan earmarked 211.3 billion yen ($1.4 billion) for the procurement in fiscal 2023. The revised plan to acquire the missile’s older version is likely to reduce the procurement cost.
Japan wants to procure the missile for its planned “counter strike” capability, including taking out adversary missile bases from where an attack is imminent.
The planned procurement requires the US Congress’ approval to go through.
Kihara announced the plan after he met with the US Defense Secretary Llyod Austin in the Pentagon last week.
The defense minister reportedly told Austin to “strengthen the alliance’s capabilities to deter and respond” to countries \threatening to change the status quo, in reference to China, Russia, and North Korea.