Skip to comments.Patriot batteries to be expanded (Japan)
Posted on 12/11/2010 6:53:14 PM PST by Ronin
Under new defense policy guidelines covering the five years from April 2011, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles will be deployed at air bases nationwide to counter the North Korean ballistic missile threat, (Japanese) officials said.
A draft appendix to the guidelines, which are to be adopted this month and possibly as early as this week, also stipulates equipping all six Aegis destroyers with Standard Missile-3 interceptors while cutting tanks and artillery by about 200 each to 400, the government and Self-Defense Forces officials said.
Along with a plan to increase the number of submarines from 16 to 22 for enhanced vigilance around the Nansei chain of islands in the southwest centering on Okinawa, the planned defense posture is apparently aimed at dealing with North Korea and deterring China.
The move comes amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula following North Korea's shelling of on a South Korean island last month as well as China's rapid military buildup and increasing naval activity.
The PAC-3 missile system, designed to shoot down an incoming missile from the ground moments before reaching its target, will be deployed by all six Air Self-Defense Force air-defense missile groups from three at present, the officials said.
The three groups that currently have the system are at the Iruma base in Saitama Prefecture covering the Tokyo metropolitan area, the Kasuga base in Fukuoka Prefecture responsible for security in Kyushu and the Gifu base aimed at defending Nagoya and Osaka.
The other ASDF bases in Chitose, Hokkaido; Misawa, Aomori Prefecture; and Naha, Okinawa Prefecture are currently equipped with PAC-2 missiles designed to shoot down enemy aircraft.
Under the fiscal 2011 budget, the government is eyeing transferring some PAC-3 missiles to Chitose and Misawa in the north from their current bases while introducing new PAC-3s to cover Naha.
Four of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's six Aegis destroyers are equipped at present with SM-3 interceptors designed to knock out an enemy missile before it enters the Earth's atmosphere.
Defense officials say the increase in submarines is needed because no SDF units are deployed west of Miyako Island near Taiwan and China, making the area a defense "vacuum."
This is a very good time for Japan to expand its ABM capabilities in a way that China can’t really bitch about. I’m actually delighted to see them taking the initiative this way.
I live in Tokyo, which is covered by the Iruma JASDF base and the ships based out of Yokosuka, but I still worry that a Chinese attack aimed at Yokota AB or 7th Fleet headquarters at Yokosuka could break through the shield.
I wonder what the “defended area” footprint of the PAC-3 is? (for something coming in at the speed you’d expect for a MRBM from NK) If they deploy them at bases nation-wide, will it cover the entire Country? Maybe most major population centers? Equipping all their AEGIS DDGs with SM-3 is probably smart - gives them a lot of flexibility in assigning ships to put up a barrier between them and NK. Defense in depth.
I have no idea, but to tell the truth, I am not really that worried about an MRBM attack from North Korea. That nation is under such intense scrutiny, electronic, satellite, etc., that the defense planners will no well in advance if it looks like they are preparing a war shot for launch.
China, on the other hand, is a much more serious concern. The ability to interdict Chinese missiles has major ramifications for Japan’s long term independence and prosperity.