The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has begun testing the improved version of the Type-12 surface-to-ship missile in an air-launched configuration designed for the P-1 maritime patrol aircraft.
According to several media reports, a P-1 patrol aircraft equipped with four modernized air-based Type-12 missiles made its first test flight from the Naval Air Facility Atsugi on February 10, 2020.
The improved air-launched variant of the latest Type 12 anti-ship missile has a maximum range of over 300 km. It is also reported that the Kawasaki P-1 anti-submarine patrol aircraft will be able to carry up to 8 Type 12 anti-ship missiles.
The Type 12 features INS with mid-course GPS guidance and better precision due to enhanced Terrain Contour Matching and target discrimination capabilities. The weapon is networked, where initial and mid-course targeting can be provided by other platforms, and also boasts shorter reload times, reduced lifecycle costs.
Experts associate Tokyo’s intention to create a new anti-ship missile with the suddenly increased activity of PLA air forces and China’s coast guard ships, constantly invading Japan’s airspace and territorial waters over recent months.