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Saturday, April 14, 2007

ASDF lets press view first PAC-3 battery


Staff writer

IRUMA, Saitama Pref. -- Japan's first Patriot PAC-3 missile interceptor system was unveiled to the media Friday as Tokyo gears up to build up a two-layer interceptor system to defend Japan against the threat of ballistic missiles, such as that posed by North Korea.

News photo
Japan's first ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile interceptor battery is shown to the media Friday at the Air Self-Defense Force's Iruma Base in Saitama Prefecture. REIJI YOSHIDA PHOTO

The trailer-mounted PAC-3 system is an updated version of the PAC-2 missile system of the Air Self-Defense Force, the U.S.-developed antiaircraft missile system.

The first unit was introduced to the ASDF's Iruma base on March 31 after having been upgraded at an Aichi Prefecture plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which now produces the Patriot system under U.S. license.

One Patriot system unit consists of about 10 elements, including five launching stations, a fire-control system, radar and electrical generator.

Each battery is carried on a trailer, and the system can be deployed anywhere the vehicles can reach. The PAC-3 unit in Iruma is to defend strategic points in Tokyo, according to the ASDF.

The ASDF plans to have 16 antimissile units armed with a combination of PAC-3 and PAC-2 missiles operational nationwide by fiscal 2010.

The surface-to-air guided missile, believed to have a range of 20 km, is meant to knock out ballistic missiles in their "terminal phrase," after they have re-entered the atmosphere and are approaching their targets.

The other antiballistic missile system Japan is introducing is the Standard Missile-3, which is to be deployed on Aegis-equipped destroyers. The missile is designed to hit a target missile in space in the early phase of its trajectory.



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