Japan is building a Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile based land attack cruise missile with 1000 km range to be fired from JMSDF submarines against China and North Korea.
The Japanese government has begun to consider installing a domestic long-range land attack cruise missile on the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s submarines. The missiles will be launched in the sea and are expected to be positioned as equipment that embodies the “enemy base attack capability” that destroys enemy missile launch bases for the purpose of self-defense.
Deployment is expected after the latter half of the 2020s.
Japan is developing a long-range cruise missile newly based on the “Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Guided Missile” of the Ground Self-Defense Force. It has a range of about 1000 km and is supposed to counterattack enemy ships from outside the missile range of the opponent. It is expected that it can be used for attacking enemy bases in the future. Standoff missiles are currently intended for launch from aircraft and surface ships. The Ministry of Defense has included a development cost of 39.3 billion yen in the FY2010 budget.
Japan plans to fire the cruise missile from a vertical launch system (VLS). It is also exploring a method of launching from an existing torpedo launcher so that the launch can be performed without ascending. MSDF submarines have the capability to fire U.S.-supplied Harpoon anti ship missiles from the torpedo tubes.
Non nuclear triad and first strike policy
In addition to possessing a large number of ballistic missiles that can cover Japan, China has intensified its military provocation by activating the activities of fleets, including aircraft carriers in the waters around Japan and the South and East China Seas in recent years. North Korea is also developing nuclear weapons and missiles.
As per Japanese thinking, if the SDF’s aircraft and surface fleet are hit hard by the first strike, it will be counterattacked by a hidden submarine.
Currently, there are 21 submarines with the Self-Defense Forces and are technologically superior to their counterparts. The Taigei-class submarine (29SS) ‘Big Whale’ is considered to be the best non nuclear submarine in the world.
The Japanese Tomahawk
In 2020, Japanese news reports began emerging that Japan is developing a new anti ship missile with a range of 2000 km. The reports also stated that Japan plans to extend the range of Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missiles to 1500 km. As per the reports, by promoting the development of long-range missiles that can be called “domestic tomahawks,” the aim is to strengthen the deterrence of the Self-Defense Forces. The Japanese government decided to postpone the possibility of converting them for land attack missiles indefinitely in a cabinet decision in December 2020.
The Type 12 surface-to-ship guided ammunition range is being extended from 200 km to 900 km, but the final goal is 1500 km.
The new anti-ship guided missile and Type 12 range is comparable to the US cruise missile “Tomahawk,” which has a range of more than 1,600 kilometres.
Japan is also pursuing stealth ability to reduce the detectability by enemy radar and high mobility of missiles to prevent interception by enemies with complicated movements. In addition to the ground launch, it will also be possible to launch these missiles from ships and aircraft.
With a range of about 2,000 km, and even if it is launched from Japanese landmass, China and North Korea will be in range. When deployed in the Nansei Islands, 1500 km will cover Pyongyang, and 2,000 km will cover Beijing. A submarine deployed 1000 km range missile can cover both Beijing and North Korea depending on deployment.