From the Analysis Desk: Demand for SM-3 Block IIA and perhaps Aegis Ashore now increased?
By Ben Goodlad, Analysis Manager
The recent DPRK missile test which saw a missile pass over Japan could see an increased calls for the deployment of sea based SM-3 Block IIA missiles to augment the stocks of SM-3 Block IA missiles already in service. At the same time the case for deploying the land based Aegis Ashore system is seen to have been strengthened.
On the other hand, given the fact that a southern launch was anticipated it is likely that Japan’s missile defense assets, in the form of SM-3 armed Kongou class Aegis Destroyers, were simply in the wrong position for an optimal interception. With limited interception capability it would have been a lot easier to be surprised by the unexpected flight path of the missile. As a consequence the incident is likely to further calls for Japan to deploy a ground based system, likely in the form of Aegis Ashore.
A ground based version of the system deployed onboard Japan’s destroyers, Aegis Ashore would be able to provide constant coverage of the Japanese mainland. Japan is already likely to introduce the longer range SM-3 Block IIA missile which was co-developed between Japan and the United States. This incident will only strengthen the case for procurement, not only at sea but also potentially on land. Of course significant obstacles would need to be overcome before the deployment of Aegis Ashore could take place, with limited budget at the forefront of the debate. However it is likely that the case to invest in Aegis Ashore will have been strengthened both in order to ensure that an interception could take place but also as a measure to reassure the Japanese people.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Goodlad is an Analysis Manager with Avascent Analytics, based in Avascent’s London office. Ben was previously a Principal Weapons Analyst at Jane’s, joining in 2007. Whilst at Jane’s, Ben specialized in the missile and precision guided weapons markets, providing analysis and 10-year market forecasts. During this time Ben has been quoted by international media regarding issues relating to weapons related topics and missile defense. He has also had work published by the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) relating to missile defense in Asia.
Prior to joining Jane’s Ben served with the British Territorial Army and graduated from King’s College London with a BA in War Studies. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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