State Dept. Approves SM-3 Sale to Japan

On January 9, the U.S. State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles at an estimated cost of $133.3 million. According to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) news release, “The Government of Japan has requested a possible sale of four (4) Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles. Also included are four (4) MK 29 missile canisters, U.S. Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, transportation, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.” The SM-3 Block IIA, which is being developed jointly by the U.S. and Japan, employs a kinetic (“hit-to-kill”) warhead to defend against medium- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. A State department official explained that the sale “will bolster the security of a major treaty ally that has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region…It will also improve [Japan’s] interoperability with U.S. missile defense systems, and increase the protection for U.S. installations in the region.”