New Japanese Missiles Shown at Formal Review
A ceremonial review of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) last month included the static display of two new Japanese air-to-air missiles that are now entering service on the JASDF’s F-15J interceptors. The AAM-4 is an active-radar-guided replacement for the AIM-7M Sparrow. It has been under development by Mitsubishi and the Japan Defense Agency (JDA) for about 10 years. The AAM-5 is a more recent product of this partnership and is billed as a high off-boresight replacement for the AIM-9L Sidewinder and its Japanese equivalent, the AAM-3. Japan has started a multi-stage upgrade of its F-15 fleet, which will eventually include a new active-scan radar and infrared search-and-track system. Japan is also shopping for a new fighter, but the JDA recently postponed a formal solicitation until next year, in the hope that the Obama administration might ask Congress to relax a ban on exporting the stealthy F-22 Raptor. The formal review took place at Hyakuri airbase near Tokyo, and featured an address by recently appointed Prime Minister Taro Aso. He noted that Japanese forces were now deployed on four international security operations, with more likely. Ironically, the Japanese government was obliged to remove the chief of the JASDF just two weeks after the review. General Toshio Tamogami was dismissed for writing a magazine article that downplayed Japan’s role as aggressor before and during World War II.