Japan mulls mounting long-range missiles on C-2 transporters

Japan mulls mounting long-range missiles on C-2 transporters

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Japan mulls mounting long-range missiles on C-2 transporters

An Air Self-Defence Force Kawasaki C-2 military transport aircraft is put on display at the Dubai Air Show in November 2019.

Japan’s Defence Ministry is considering mounting long-range missiles on C-2 transport planes of the Air Self-Defence Force to improve the country’s standoff Defence capabilities, government sources said Sunday.

The missiles could be used for operations to attack enemy bases such as missile launch sites in counterstrike operations, the sources added.

According to the sources, the ministry is considering using a type of missile whose engine ignites in the air after the missile is dropped during flight.

This type does not require major modifications to aircraft. The United States is developing related technology.

The ministry secured ¥3.6 billion in the fiscal 2023 budget in related expenses. Full-scale development is expected to begin after technical research is carried out until fiscal 2024.

The ministry does not plan to develop or procure new missiles for the C-2 planes. Missiles that could be adopted are the U.S.-made Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, with a range of about 900 kilometers, set to be introduced for F-15 fighter jets. An aircraft-launched version of the Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile with a 1,000-km range is also under development.

In standoff Defence operations, ground launchers of the Ground Self-Defence Forces, destroyers of the Maritime Self-Defence Forces and fighter jets of the ASDF are able to target invading forces from afar,

The C-2 aircraft can carry more missiles than most fighters and can stay airborne for longer periods of time.

The plane is capable of transporting 110 people and traveling about 7,600 kilometers with 20 tons of cargo. About 15 aircraft are deployed in Japan.

Increasing the means of interception makes it more difficult for the enemy to invade. The government’s new Defence Buildup Program, released last year, calls for “further diversifying launch platforms” and includes a plan to study a missile system that can be mounted on transport aircraft.

The ministry also plans to develop missiles to be launched from MSDF submarines.