The US State Department has approved the sale to Japan of 32 SM-6 missiles and other associated equipments. The SM-6 is known as the only american missile capable of intercepting and destroying incoming hypersonic warheads. The approximate cost of this potential deal is $450 million USD. This deal will enhance the air defence and ballistic missile capabilities of Japan’s military forces to safeguard their homeland from potential threats. The SM-6 has the maximum speed of Mach 3.5 with the range of 130 nautical miles (240 km). The missile has a very high flight ceiling of above 110,000 ft (34,000 m).
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on October 20 that the United States State Department has approved a potential contract worth $450 million USD to supply 32 Standard Missile-6 air defense systems (Block 1) to Japan.
The contract also includes missile storage canisters, technical equipments and training support for Japan.
“The sale will improve Japan’s Air Defense and Ballistic missile defence capabilities against potential adversaries in the region. It also provides the US-Japan security alliance with new and the most modern weapons.”
This deal will also help in reducing japan dependence on US Forces for defense activities.
The deal has been notified to the US Congress, which will have 30 days to decide whether to block the contract or not. If there is no objection from the Congress, the deal will be submitted for final approval in the office of the US President Joe Biden.
This supply of SM-6 missiles to Japan will also help Japan to deal with the emerging threats posed by the chinese hypersonic missiles and North Korean ballistic missiles.
This will make Japan the first country other than the United States to deploy the SM-6. The US since 2017 has also licensed South Korea and Australia to own the SM-6, but their has been no actual action.
The United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia have warships equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system.
This allows the warship to import and process target data from allied forces into the SM-6, improving detection and interception capabilities.
SM-6 is the latest anti-aircraft missile equipped with the US Aegis Defense Shield.
This type of missile is also the only us weapon currently capable of intercepting hypersonic missiles, according to pentagon officials.
US officials has not said anything about which version of the SM-6 is capable of defeating hypersonic missiles.
Detailed information about the RIM-174 (SM-6) Standard Extended Range Active Missile
The RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), or Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) is a missile in current production for the United States Navy.
It was designed for extended range anti-air warfare (ER-AAW) purposes providing capability against fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship cruise missiles in flight, both over sea and land, and terminal ballistic missile defense. It can also be used as a high speed anti-ship missile.
The missile uses the airframe of the earlier SM-2ER Block IV (RIM-156A) missile, adding the active radar homing seeker from the AIM-120C AMRAAM in place of the semi-active seeker of the previous design. This will improve the capability of the Standard missile against highly agile targets, and targets beyond the effective range of the launching vessels’ target illumination radars.