2024年5月3日金曜日

SELF-DEFENSE FORCE (SDF) BEGINS TOMAHAWK MISSILE TRAINING FOR FY2025 DEPLOYMENT - TOKYO

SELF-DEFENSE FORCE (SDF) BEGINS TOMAHAWK MISSILE TRAINING FOR FY2025 DEPLOYMENT - TOKYO


@Jackie San


Japan's Self-Defense Forces have started training to operate land-based Tomahawk cruise missiles, as the country plans to deploy them from fiscal 2025 in the hope of enhancing deterrence against China and North Korea.


With the help of the U.S. military, the first drills were joined by Maritime Self-Defense Force and Air Self-Defense Force officers and were conducted March 25-29 in the U.S. Navy's base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, with further exercises to follow, according to U.S. Forces Japan.


The latest exercises "provided participants with a hands-on overview" of the consoles and associated equipment for the U.S.-made weapon's control system, with those who took part given the chance to "execute a simulated generic strike mission scenario," the U.S. Navy said in a press release.


Such drills deliver "the credibility of the deterrence that all of us rely on," U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said after observing the shipboard portion of the training open to the media on the U.S. guided-missile destroyer McCampbell on March 28.


He told reporters the U.S. forces plan to continue providing training to the SDF through the exercises "on a bimonthly basis."


In a statement, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara welcomed the commencement of the Tomahawk drills, saying that his country is beefing up its "stand-off defense capabilities in order to disrupt and defeat any forces that seek to invade Japan early and from far away."


Japan plans to purchase 400 Tomahawks from the United States over three years from fiscal 2025, starting next April, to obtain "counterstrike capabilities" for hitting military targets in an adversary's territory in cases of emergency.


The close U.S. security ally pledged to acquire the capabilities in its National Security Strategy, updated in 2022, in a major policy shift under its war-renouncing Constitution, amid Beijing's military buildup and the threat posed by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.


Of the 400 missiles, 200 are expected to be the latest Tomahawk Block-5 model, while the rest will be the older Block-4 model. Both versions have a strike range of about 1,600 kilometers, and MSDF destroyers will be equipped with them.


Japan was initially planning to buy 400 Block-5 missiles in fiscal 2026 and 2027, but it later decided to go ahead with the purchase a year earlier by switching half of them to Block-4s.

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