Japan 'Building Missiles to Counter China's Naval Power'

      July 22, 2010 13:06

      Japan has begun developing a high-speed anti-ship missile in response to China's growing naval power, according to a media report Wednesday. The missile, called XASM-3, is slated for production starting in 2016, the daily Tokyo Shimbun said.

      The supersonic missile is "almost impossible to shoot down" and "appears to be aimed at thwarting China's rising naval might," the daily said.

      The XASM-3, which is 6 m long and weighs 900 kg, is small enough to be mounted on fighter jets rather tan bombers. Japan is prohibited from having long-range bombers due to limitations on its arsenal of offensive weapons by its post-war Constitution. The Japanese government has earmarked 32.5 billion yen to develop the missile. The country's present arsenal of air-to-ship missiles is subsonic and can be shot down.

      Supersonic anti-ship missiles are used for defense against aircraft carriers, destroyers and cruisers. At present, Russia has the largest numbers of them, to counter U.S. aircraft carrier groups. China has imported them from Russia and is developing its own version. The U.S. has none due to a different military doctrine but apparently began developing them recently.

      China has been boosting its naval strength and plans to build its own aircraft carrier by 2015. It recently bought four destroyers from Russia and deployed its own Aegis-class destroyers.

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