The Japanese government is considering equipping its two future ground-based Aegis Ashore systems with multi-purpose interceptors designed to stop cruise missiles, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports.
As the number of Chinese military aircraft sighted in the skies around Japan is increasing, the Japanese military purportedly believes it necessary to arm Aegis Ashore sites, the land-based version of the Aegis Combat System, with the Standard Missile (SM) 6, next to the anti-ballistic missile SM-3 Block IIA interceptor.
Tokyo is especially concerned over the growing presence of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Xian H-6K long-range bombers near Japanese airspace. The bomber can be armed with CJ-20 subsonic land-attack cruise missiles with an estimated range of up to 1,500 miles. In the future, PLAAF bombers will also likely be fitted with nuclear-capable cruise missiles. Japan completed a study in May of this year concluding that the Aegis Ashore system is more cost effective for missile defense than purchasing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.