Northrop and Mitsubishi to Cooperate on Air Defence
The cooperation aims to allow the air defence systems used by the Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) to share target information. JDSDF uses a mixture of locally made systems like Type 11, Type 03 Chu-SAM, and U.S.-made systems like MIM-104 Patriot. By extension, this might improve the interoperability with the systems deployed by the U.S., such as THAAD.
The resurfacing missile threat from North Korea and Japan’s decision to increase the activity in the defence sector might have been among the catalysts for a refinement in ground-based air defence capabilities.
There were other plans to increase the ground-based air defence capabilities as well. In 2017, Japan approved the instalment of AEGIS Ashore to acquire ground-based ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability. AEGIS Ashore is the ground-based version of the AEGIS combat system used on the USN and JMSDF destroyers. The system can be defined as putting battle management, radar and missile components on a ground facility instead of a warship.
In 2020, Japan cancelled the acquisition of AEGIS Ashore and later opted for a new AEGIS-equipped warship programme named ASEV in 2021. ASEV programme aims to introduce a new destroyer dedicated to the BMD role.