Japan is in talks with the United States to purchase enhancements for the Aegis ballistic missile technology onboard two of its guided-missile destroyers, Reuters reported on Thursday (see GSN, Sept. 19, 2011).
Under the discussed multimillion-dollar export deal, Japan would acquire the latest-available Aegis antimissile equipment for two Atago-class destroyers -- the Ashigara and the Atago, Lockheed Martin naval program chief Nick Bucci said.
The potential upgrades would include the radar capability to simultaneously counter ballistic missile attacks and other aerial strikes as well as new computer equipment and other technology, the Lockheed official said during a missile defense conference in Huntsville, Ala.
The updates are necessary if the vessels are to be able to utilize the next-generation Standard Missile 3 Block 2A interceptor Japan is developing with the United States.
Tokyo is looking to significantly boost its domestic ballistic missile defense capabilities as a response to North Korea's continuing missile and nuclear weapons efforts.
The Japanese navy already has four Kongo-class guided missile destroyers with older-generation SM-3 interceptors. The destroyers' Aegis systems would need to be modernized if they are to also operate the new SM-3 missiles, which are being developed by Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Raytheon anticipates completing work on the co-developed SM-3 Block 2A interceptor by 2018 (Jim Wolf, Reuters, Aug. 16).
Japan is in talks with the United States to purchase enhancements for the Aegis ballistic missile technology onboard two of its guided-missile destroyers, Reuters reported on Thursday.