Joint Development for Missile Defense

Prospects for Japan’s Industrial Participation

The suspension of Aegis Ashore gives rise to a range of options that could boost Japanese participation in the design and build of missile and other defense systems. Currently the most notable joint production example is the F-35 assembly program between Lockheed Martin and MHI; the SM Block 2A interceptor project between Raytheon and Mitsubishi Electric.

How can Japan take the lead on its own missile defense and what other opportunities for joint development should Japan and its partners consider?

A major concern for Japan is the growing volume of imported defense equipment, mainly Foreign Military Sales (FMS) from the U.S. Limited defense spending – one percent or less of GDP compared to two percent target in NATO countries – has increased reliance on the U.S. and reduced the domestic industrial base.

The Ministry of Defense priority is to strengthen the defense industrial base by focusing on game changing technologies including AI, composites, sensors, cyber and electromagnetics. MOD has prioritized a number of programs for development and is expanding cooperation with international partners.

This year the Space Force was established under the JASDF and the go-ahead was given to develop an indigenous FX aircraft to replace the F-2.

MOD intends to cut equipment procurement costs by making bulk orders utilizing long-term contracts and has identified four specific initiatives:

1. Reform contract system to create a competitive environment among defense companies
2. Strengthen management of supply chain for defense services and equipment
3. Increase participation of Japan’s defense industry for maintenance of imported equipment
4. Promote select defense equipment for overseas transfer under existing laws

Japan’s National Security Council is considering not only Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), but other options to defend the country.

August 26, 2020

Washington 08:00
London 13:00
Paris 14:00
New Delhi 17:30
Tokyo 21:00
Canberra 22:00
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