Japan planning to arm its submarines with 1000 km range of missile

Japan is planning to upgrade and extend the capability of its cruise missiles to its submarine force to hit objects over 1,000 kilometers away.

report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper cites several unnamed government officials who confirm that Tokyo is looking at the possibility of equipping current and/or future JMSDF submarines with long-range cruise missiles.

According to source Japanese government has begun to consider installing a domestic long-range cruise missile capable of attacking ground targets on the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s submarines. The missiles will be launched in the sea, and are expected to be positioned as equipment that embodies the “enemy base attack capability” that destroys enemy missile launch bases for the purpose of self-defense.

To this end, the Maritime Self-Defense Force has proposed a plan to develop a “stand-off missile” with a range of 1,000 kilometers and possibly even 1,500 kilometers on the basis of the existing Type 12 land-based anti-ship missiles. The missile will be carried by surface ships and submarines for direct attacks on “enemy bases”.

So, how should we understand that the Maritime Self-Defense Force is arguing to “develop the ability to strike outside the defense zone” and develop cruise missiles with a range of 1,000 km or even 1,500 kilometers? Do the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force really has this ability and the guts to “attack the enemy’s base”?

Guidance problem

Let’s talk about the so-called “range of 1000 kilometers” cruise missile to be developed by the Maritime Self-Defense Force. According to Haizi, this cruise missile is to be developed on the basis of Type 12 land-based shore-to-ship missile. Author believes that- in theory, it is of course feasible to use the Type 12 anti-ship missile as the basis to develop long-range cruise missiles. “.

Type 12 anti-ship missile
Type 12 anti-ship missile

After all, judging from the overall design and technical performance of Type 12 anti-ship missile, this anti-ship missile perfectly reflects US Tomahawk missile: we all know that how an anti-ship missile work, because most of the time is In sea flight, the autopilot generally only cross-links the radar or laser altimeter, the inertial navigation system in the middle section, and the active radar is used for terminal guidance in the final section. As for the Type 12 anti-ship missile, the Japanese are very fascinated to equip it with a set of mid-section inertial navigation and terrain matching guidance modes, which can use the laser altimeter for terrain sampling, match the flight path of the missile, and implement it at ultra-low altitude on land. 

According to Lu Zi of Japan, the factor of using the terrain matching guidance mode is to allow the Type 12 anti-ship missiles to be “launched in inland areas”. There is only one explanation for the terrain matching guidance system of Type 12 anti-ship missile, which is often used by land-attacking cruise missiles. 

Warhead problem

However, you said that the Type 12 anti-ship missile can really be directly changed to a “land attack cruise missile”, which is actually not very reliable. It is very simple. The size of the Type 12 anti-ship missile is really too small.

The currently Type-12 body length of 5 meters, a body diameter of 340 mm, a wingspan of about one meter, and a launch mass of about 700 kg. However, Type 12 anti-ship missile uses a turbofan engine, which increases the range, and it can carry 224kg or warhead (about 500 pounds). That is to say, the Type 12 anti-ship missile is actually a smaller tactical anti-ship missile.

Curently most of U.S. military is equipped with two types of cruise missiles:

The tactical-grade AGM-158 joint standoff missile, with a body length of 4.26 meters, a diameter of 550 mm, and a launch mass of 1023 kg, uses the J-1000 to penetrate the warhead, with a warhead mass of 454 kg (about 1000 pounds);

The famous BGM-109 “Tomahawk” series cruise missiles have a body length of about 6.1 meters, a diameter of 517 mm, a launch mass of 1454 kg (about 3200 pounds), and are equipped with WDU-25B high-explosive warheads. The mass of the warhead ranges from 300 kg to 454 kg, and the mass of the tactical nuclear warhead is relatively low.

JASSM (AGM-158) missile
JASSM (AGM-158) missile

Judging from the volume of typical American-made cruise missiles, especially the warhead design, we can find that most cruise missiles used to hit ground targets have a warhead of at least 1,000 pounds of heavy bombs. The fortifications cannot be opened by 500-pound bombs alone. Of course, the 500-pound warhead is not without it. The US military’s SLAM-ER tactical missile is one of them. The bomb was modified with the AGM-84H anti-ship missile. The US military believes that the biggest problem with the bomb is its lack of power.

If the Japanese Self-Defense Forces really use the Type 12 shore-to-ship missile to change the land-based cruise missile, the result is likely to be similar to the SLAM-ER. So, will Japan adopt the strategy or re-develop a brand new heavy cruise missile?

Launch Platform

The Self-Defense Force has proposed several launch plans, one is to hang the cruise missile on fighter aircraft; Put it on the warship with the MK-41 vertical launch system in the sea; the third is to put it directly on the “Big Whale” class conventional power submarine that has just been launched.

Taigei-class submarine (Big Whale)
Taigei-class submarine (Big Whale)

Compared with tactical aircraft and surface ships, the cruise missiles that the Self-Defense Forces want to engage in, the most threatening launch platform is the underwater submarines. After all, the tactical concealment of submarines is quite strong, and the efficiency of ocean anti-submarine is very low. If Japanese submarines can hide at the edge of the East China Sea continental shelf, the active sonar of anti-submarine warfare forces cannot form the effect of underwater acoustic convergence. It’s really not easy to find out the submarine.

In fact, Japan has also noticed this, and made it clear that it plans to study and modify the submarine-launched vertical launch system on the follow-up boats of the “Whale” class submarines launched this year. After all, the launch speed of the vertical launch system is better than that of torpedo tubes; In terms of the performance of the “Big Whale” class, compared with the “Dosan Anchangho” class submarine of the South Korean Navy, it even has a slight advantage. It is used to install a vertical launch system, which can at least ensure that it can be installed in the midship part of the hull. The 8 vertical launch tubes have certain actual combat capabilities and strong surprise suddenness.

What do the Japanese want to do?

Of course, no matter which platform the Self-Defense Forces plan to put the missile on, it is a great breakthrough to Japan’s “Peace Constitution”, and it is a manifestation of the Japanese Self-Defense Force’s ability to develop offensive operations. The combination of boats and bombs” means that Japan has the ability to carry out surprise attacks.

Just imagine, if Japan can equip about 10 improved “Whale”-class conventional powered submarines with vertical launch systems in the future, then it means that the Self-Defense Forces have the ability to shoot 60 to 80 cruise missiles in a single wave and implement the first wave. If the distance between China and Japan is taken into account, in fact, some key coastal military targets in China, such as naval bases, even if the Japanese Self-Defense Force deploys cruise missiles by land-based launch, can Some major naval ports of the Chinese navy are included in the firepower range. If the Japanese Self-Defense Force really wants to do something big, such as another “Pearl Harbor incident” on the coast of China, after equipping cruise missiles, especially cruise missile submarines, the missile groups of the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Land Self-Defense Force will need a careful selection of the timing of the attack and ability too.

“Whale” class submarine

However, “having this kind of ability” does not mean “having this kind of courage”. According to the current strength of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, if the Self-Defense Forces really want the Self-Defense Forces to create a second Pearl Harbor incident, I am afraid that it is not a self-defense who has suffered cerebral thrombosis for ten years. Only a senior officer of the guard dared to issue such an order. After all, attacking the opponent’s operating base is ok against a country like South Korea. Against the Wuchang countries, Japan really thinks that it has lived too long. I am really not afraid of the first round of missiles being fired. When I returned to the port, I suddenly found out: Hey, my port What, why is it gone?

Therefore, the Japanese Self-Defense Force is now clamoring for the development of “out-of-zone strike cruise missiles” and “attacking enemy bases” capability to be developed. Chinese experts believes that the most important things to pay attention to are two issues:

One is whether Japan independently launched attacks on some secondary countries at a critical moment. For example, the ability to strike some sensitive targets on the Korean peninsula, through “small moves” and “small moves to shake up the big situation”, pulls the neighboring big countries into a desperate struggle that no one wants to participate in;

Second, as Japan continues to improve its long-range attack capabilities, the US-Japan coalition forces will surely have a more powerful “pre-emptive” strike capability.

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