Japan’s ABM System Cost Triples
DID has covered ongoing ABM developments involving the USA and Japan, from their joint development agreement, to contracts and moves aimed at the deployment of SM-3 Standard and Patriot PAC-3 missiles as an initial shield. Now The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the USA has told Japan it would cost nearly three times more than previously estimated to develop a joint missile defense system against a possible attack by North Korea.
Japan’s sense of urgency in this matter has been quite high since North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the Japanese mainland into the Pacific as an implicit threat. when coupled with Pyonyang’s nuclear program, that threat takes on new dimensions. Yet Japan’s recent budget increase of 1.2% is the first increase in four years.
Initial estimates for the joint development project had the United States shouldering $545 million, with work on the project starting in the Japanese FY 2006 and continuing to March 2012. AFP reports that “the amount nearly tripled after Washington extended the period for development to 2014 and recalculated the amount based on previous weaponry projects…”
The cost spiral has drawn the expect concern from the Japanese, and The Yomiuri Shimbun quoted an anonymous Japanese defense agency official as saying “it’s possible that the US estimate includes experiments that are much larger in terms of scale than Japan needs.”
This is an early hint that the Japanese government may try to renegotiate its contribution to the next-generation project, now estimated to cost a total of $3 billion. They may also seek to constrain it to theater defense research rather than ballistic missile defense in general. Yet North Korea’s closeness to Japan may force an effective shield to consider options like space-based defense, in order to be effective in the boost phase.
Japan expects the cost of maintaining the current missile defense system of PAC-3 Patriot missiles for point defense and SM-3 Standard missiles on AEGIS ships to total 800 billion yen to one trillion yen ($7.2 – $8.9 billion). That system is scheduled to begin deployment in late fiscal 2006.
- DID (July 19/05) – Japan Licensed to Produce Patriot PAC-3s
- DID (July 18/05) – Lockheed to Upgrade Japanese AEGIS Destroyer for ABM Use
- DID (July 6/05) – Up to $387M for Japanese Naval ABM Components
- DID (June 7/05) – Japan to Begin Missile Defense Development With US