State Department approves SM-3 IIA sale to Japan

US approves $133mn interceptor missile sale to Japan amid breakthrough intra Korean talks

This second Aegis destroyer will target a missile and fire an interceptor based on radar information provided by another Aegis vessel closer to the missile launch site.

Raytheon is tapped to produce the SM-3 missiles, while BAE Systems will provide the launching canisters.

The department says the sale will support the American defense industry and underscores Trump's commitment to improve the defense of allies threatened by North Korea.

Onodera said he did not discuss in detail with Greaves expenses for introducing the Aegis Ashore, but felt US "efforts to reduce the costs". However, the US side could be reluctant to accept such a proposal because a USA vessel intercepting a missile based on targeting information shared by an MSDF vessel would also be entrusting command to Japan.

The installation of the systems will constitute a violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Moscow and the United States, she argued, noting that the US-made ballistic defense systems are equipped with universal launchers that could carry all types of missiles. Consequently, the government intends to carefully gauge the USA side's intentions on this issue. One or two are engaged in warning and surveillance activities in the Sea of Japan. After its latest ballistic missile test on November 28, Pyongyang claimed that its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-15, is able to strike the whole USA mainland.

The most provocative moment came November 29, when North Korea said it successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, topped with a "super-large heavy warhead" which it said was capable of striking the USA mainland. The government is considering introducing the new system to the other vessels during upgrades.

The proposal to build two Aegis Ashore batteries without the missiles will likely cost at least $2 billion and was not likely to be operational until 2023 at the earliest, sources familiar with the plan told Reuters in December.

The Japanese government is looking to strengthen its missile defense system amid the growing North Korean threat.

The SM-3 Block IIA is an anti-ballistic missile that can be employed on Aegis-class destroyers or on land, via the Aegis Ashore program, according to a State Department official.

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