Japan Licensed to Produce Patriot PAC-3s
The United States has concluded a deal to allow Japan to license produce Lockheed Martin’s Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles which will constitute the core of a joint missile defense system. The PAC-3 is the USA’s most modern ground-based air defense system.
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that the two governments sealed a memorandum of understanding in March 2005 on the licensed production of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor missiles, and Lockheed Martin Corp. is expected to sign a contract before March 2006 to license Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. for PAC-3 production. At the same time, Japan has also said that foreign export of such weapons may be considered under certain circumstances.
Officials were not immediately available at the Defense Agency or Mitsubishi to comment on the report.
As noted in an earlier DID report, Japan plans to deploy an anti-missile shield consisting of the land-based PAC-3 as well as the seaborne Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) that is about to be installed on the Kirishima AEGIS destroyer. The naval SM-3s are designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside of the atmosphere, while PAC-3 missiles have a smaller engagement radius and are used more as a final defense.
The Defense Agency estimates the cost of the missile defense system to be between 800 billion and one trillion yen (USD $7.3-$9.1 billion).
Japan plans to buy PAC-3 missiles from Lockheed Martin over the first two years, before starting deployment of Mitsubishi-produced PAC-3 missiles in the fiscal year that ends on March 2009, the report said.
In related news, Jiji Press News Agency reported that Defense Agency Director-General Yoshinori Ono said on July 14 his country could offer interceptor missiles it was developing with the United States to third countries on a case by case basis if the USA requested them. This possibility is a sensitive issue under pacifist Japan’s controls on arms exports, but agressive moves by North Korea and China have raised serious concerns and led to an overall reassessment of Japanese policies. Though no specific countries were mentioned, India and Taiwan are considered to be the most likely beneficiaries.
- Agence-France Presse (July 18/05) – U.S. Seals Deal on Japan’s Licensed Production of Missiles
- Agence-France Presse (July 14/05) – Japan Says Interceptor Missiles Can Go To Third Countries