TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is preparing to acquire precision air-launched missiles that for the first time would give it the capability to strike North Korean missile sites, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Japan plans to put money aside in its next defense budget starting April to study whether its F-15 fighters could launch longer-range missiles including Lockheed Martin Corp’s extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER), which can hit targets 1,000 km (620 miles) away, said one the sources with knowledge of the plan.
“There is a global trend for using longer range missiles and it is only natural that Japan would want to consider them,” he said. The sources asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to talk to media.
Japan is also interested in buying the 500 km-range Joint Strike Missile designed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to be carried …
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