On March 18, the Japanese Defense Ministry announced plans to develop its first domestically produced long-range standoff cruise missile with a range exceeding 400 km. This news comes less than a week after the Ministry signed a deal with a Norwegian company to procure an undisclosed number of Joint Strike Missiles, or JSM, which will be installed on Japan’s F-35 fighter jets. The JSM has a range of around 550 km.
Both missiles exceed the range of Japan’s domestically produced supersonic air-to-ship ASM-3 missile. The ASM-3 has a reported range of 100-200 km and completed testing in FY2017. Neither Japan’s FY2018 or 2019 budget financed procurement of the ASM-3; approximately $71 million, however, were allotted for procurement of the JSM. Japan’s focus on long-range defensive weapons was set by its FY2019 National Defense Program Guidelines document which requires it to develop and acquire standoff capabilities to protect its island territories.