A new anti-ship missile promises to give a tremendous boost to the Japan Self Defense Force's ability to deter naval aggression. The missile, known as XASM-3, can travel at speeds of Mach 3, evading missile defenses to sink enemy surface ships. The missiles will be a significant worry for China, whose navy will have to sail within range of the missiles in order to reach the North Pacific Ocean.
Traditional anti-ship missiles such as the U.S.-made Harpoon and French Exocet use rocket motors and turbojet engines to fly at subsonic speed.
A radar sixty feet off the ground can detect a sea skimming missile flying at thirty feet at a range of nineteen miles. Assuming a Harpoon missile flies at a height of ten meters, enemy air defenses will pick it up on their radars only in the last two minutes of flight, giving them little time to react.
Under development since the mid-2000s, the new XASM-3 anti-ship missile promises to go a long way toward redirecting the balance of power back to Japan. Like the Moskit, XASM-3 is powered by a ramjet and has a maximum speed in excess of Mach 3. Like anti-ship missiles before it, XASM-3 also flies at just above the wavetops. The combination of the two means any ship unlucky enough to be on the receiving end would have less than thirty seconds from detection to impact to act.
According to Navy Recognition, XASM-3 is a ramjet rocket powered engine a range of ninety-two miles—and very likely more. The missile is seventeen feet long with a weight of nearly two thousand pounds, making it smaller than the U.S. Navy’s .
. Production of the missiles is set to start next year in 2018.
At the same time, the Maritime Self Defense Forces are reportedly gaining a new missile, the XSSM. The new missile will outfit Japanese warships and the missile appears to be a good fit for the Mark 41 vertical launch system.
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