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Tokyo renounces AGM-158Cs to upgrade its 70 F-15 aircraft

Lrasm anti-ship missiles excluded from the cost increase program

The announcement made last week by the Japanese Ministry of Defense, which informed that it had cancelled the long-range anti-ship missiles with standoff capabilities from the update program of the approximately 70 F-15 fighter aircraft of its Air Self Defense Force (ASDF), reaches the continental press only today. The acquisition of the Lockheed Martin LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) AGM-158C, as well as that of the Jassm missiles, aimed to arm the ASDF with a technology that could be launched from aircraft without them being exposed to enemy fire. A disengagement, that of the LRASM, which according to the ministry of Defense means for the finances of Japan a saving of about 60 billion yen of the budget reserved for the ministry.

Despite the cut, the total cost of upgrading the F-15 fighters is still expected to reach 398 billion yen, or more than 74 billion yen more than the initial estimate. So it's a question of money. But the decision could cost the country dearly in terms of national security, because according to the ministry's own admission, at a time like the current one of increasing Chinese military assertiveness, these missiles, which have a range of 900 kilometers, are necessary to upgrade the country's defense capabilities around the Nansei Islands, a chain extending southwest to Taiwan.

Japan will however continue the F-15 upgrade program, with the aim of completing the modernization of at least twenty units by March 2028. In the meantime, to remedy the country, which has started developing its own standoff missiles this year, after securing a budget of 33.5 billion yen, it plans to extend the range of the surface-to-ship missiles that had already developed, bringing it to about 900 km.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency