Japan’s Ministry of Defense has expedited the planned deployment of an improved version of the SSM-2 anti-ship missile for the Type 12 system, designed to extend its range and bolster its capabilities to strike adversary missile launch sites.
According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, initially planned for deployment in the fiscal year 2026, the implementation has been expedited due to the heightened security environment.
The improved version is called the SSM-3 and ranges from approximately 200 to about 1,000 kilometers.
Type 12 systems are currently deployed in Hokkaido, Aomori, and Kumamoto Prefectures. By the end of this fiscal year, regiments will be established in Okinawa Prefecture, followed by Oita Prefecture by the end of the next fiscal year. This expansion will create a nationwide force of seven regiments. The Ministry of Defense is contemplating introducing these SSM-3 missiles to all regiments in the future.
The Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and currently in service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, will undergo enhancements aimed at augmenting its reach. These modifications will enable the missile to effectively target adversary missile launch sites, significantly enhancing Japan’s defensive posture.
The Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile, initially introduced in 2012, represents a crucial component of Japan’s defensive arsenal. Equipped with an inertial navigation system (INS) with mid-course GPS guidance and superior precision due to upgraded Terrain Contour Matching and target discrimination capabilities, the missile has demonstrated enhanced effectiveness.
This accelerated deployment underlines Japan’s strategic commitment to fortify its defensive capabilities amid evolving security challenges from Russia and China.