Japan to Develop Interceptor Against Hypersonic Missiles
The funding is part of Japan’s record $56 billion defence budget. The U.S. and Japan previously agreed to jointly develop an interceptor missile specifically against hypersonic glide vehicles being designed by China, as reported by Yomiuri.
Two countries previously cooperated on developing the SM-3 Block IIA exo-atmospheric interceptor missile. Japan’s workshare includes folding fins, the thrust vectoring nozzle of the second stage, and the propellant.
The answer to “how to counter hypersonic glide vehicles or missiles?” remains uncertain. Countries working in the field have recently presented different ideas in this regard. For example, Israel’s Sky Sonic missile aims to achieve high speeds by having a very large booster section and a far smaller main missile with aerodynamic controls; Diehl’s IRIS-T HYDEF is being developed with a thruster-controlled EO/IR-guided kill vehicle with a rocket or ramjet boost stage. What kind of an approach Japan will take remains to be seen.