Sources said the government is planning to have the Boeing jet carry the JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range) cruise missile. Civil servants are working on the fiscal 2018 budget to allocate funds to research on how to carry out the modifications.
A government source in fact said Japan’s Defense Ministry “is in the final stage of arrangements to include costs for research on airframe modifications to introduce it into the fiscal 2018 budget.”
Noteworthy thanks to JASSM-ER standoff capabilities, without approaching North Korea Japan would be able to attack the country directly from the airspace over the Sea of Japan.
Using a more efficient engine and larger fuel volume in an airframe with the same external dimensions as the JASSM, the JASSM-ER in fact features a range of over 575 miles (925 km) as compared to the JASSM’s range of about 230 miles (370 km).
As we have already explained Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is thinking to give preemptive strike capability to the Japan Self-Defence Force (JSDF). Abe would like to give the JSDF such capability because of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs recent developments.
Nevertheless, despite the threat posed by Pyongyang nuclear arsenal, apprehension about giving such capability to JSDF remains deep-rooted within the nation.
However if North Korea were to simultaneously launch multiple missiles, it would be difficult to shoot them all down under Japan’s current missile defense structure. Given this issue, Abe is considering possessing the ability to strike enemy bases before a missile attack is initiated against his country.
Along with a possible F-15J strike variant three options are under consideration: a ballistic missile attack, a cruise missile strike and lastly an air raid using F-35 stealth fighters, which Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) will deploy in the near future.
Acquiring a preemptive strike capability has been considered by previous governments with no decision reached, because such ability would not be appropriate for the JSDF exclusively defensive nature.
Photo credit: Angelique Perez and Ssgt. James R. Ferguson / U.S. Air Force
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