02:41 GMT27 October 2020
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    The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) explained earlier that the proposed sale would help US interests in Japan by developing and maintaining a strong and effective defence capability in the region.

    The US Department of State has approved the sale of a maximum of 73 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors to Japan at an estimated cost of close to $3.3 billion, the DSCA said in a press release on Tuesday.

    “The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan of up 73 SM-3 Block IIA with support for an estimated cost of $3.295 billion", the release said.

    The contractor for the SM-3 Block IB missiles is Raytheon Missile Systems.

    The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the US and Japan and operates as part of the AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defence system, the naval component of the US Ballistic Missile Defence System.

    The SM-3 interceptor is already a critical part of a NATO missile defence system in Europe, with interceptors deployed on US Navy ships off the continent's coast, according to Raytheon.

    According to Japanese-based media reports, Japan is currently protected by four destroyers equipped with US Aegis missile defense systems carrying SM-3 intercept missiles as well as surface-to-air modernized Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) ballistic missile interceptors.

    Tokyo is also reportedly considering a new missile interception system on its two destroyers, equipped with US Aegis missile defence systems, which will enter operational service in 2020, Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier.

    Sea-based Aegis systems are capable of intercepting ballistic missiles at altitudes of over 310 miles. Land-based Aegis systems have similar capabilities. Japan's missile defence is reportedly planned to be strengthened by equipping the Aegis systems with a new type of SM-3 Block IIA missile, the range of which is almost three times that of an SM-3.



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