Sun, Jul 17, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Japan inks deal with US to produce Patriot missiles

AFP , TOKYO

The US has concluded a deal to allow Japan's licensed production of US-developed surface-to-air missiles which will constitute the core of a joint missile defense system, a report said yesterday.

The two governments sealed a memorandum of understanding in March on the licensed production of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor missiles, the Asahi Shimbun reported in its evening edition.

US Lockheed Martin Corp is expected to sign a contract within the current fiscal year which ends in March next year to license Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd with PAC-3 production, the daily said.

Officials were not immediately available at the Defense Agency to comment on the report.

The PAC-3 is a US army surface-to-air guided missile capable of intercepting missiles, including North Korea's Rodong, which has a range of about 1,300km.

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).

SM-3s intercept ballistic missiles when they reach their highest point outside of the atmosphere and PAC-3 missiles are used to destroy missiles that evade SM-3 attacks.

Japan and the US have been engaged in joint technological research on a missile defense system since 1999, a year after North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific.

Japan plans to start deploying PAC-3 missiles in the latter half of the fiscal year to March 2007. It will buy them in the first two years from Lockheed Martin before starting deployment of Mitsubishi-produced PAC-3 missiles in the year to March 2009, the report said.

The licensed PAC-3 production will help Japan's defense industry "maintain its technological might and promptly respond to such events as malfunctions," a defense agency official was quoted as saying by the Asahi. But licensed production will be more costly than imports, the daily said.

This story has been viewed 2822 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top