The Japanese government will equip the Air Self-Defence Force’s (ASDF) F-2 fighter jet with a new air-to-ship missile starting next year, The Yomiuri Shimbun said.
The new missile will be the first supersonic air-to-ship type to be made in the country.
The domestically built type 80 and type 93 air-to-ship missiles can both reach near-supersonic speeds. The new air-to-ship missile will travel significantly faster, with a speed of around Mach 3 — about three times faster than the type 93 and on par with the most advanced missiles of the same variety overseas.
The time given to hit a target would be decreased with the new air-to-ship missile, which can fly at a low altitude near to the water surface to easily escape radar detection.
The Japanese government will designate several hundred millions of yen in a budgetary request, to mass produce the missile, which is now under improvement.
The Defence Ministry will test-fire the new air-to-ship missile against a retired destroyer. If it shows to have high performance, the ministry will gradually equip F-2 fighters deployed to units in western Japan with the missile.
Japan and the United States developed the F-2 fighter jointly, is recognized for its significant capacity to attack ships.
The Japanese government is also equipping the Airforce with F-35 Stealth Fighter jet and scheduled to be used at the end of this year.