State Department approves SM-3 IIA sale to Japan

State Department approves SM-3 IIA sale to Japan

This was the 27th consecutive kill of a test ICBM by the Aegis system.

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles for an estimated cost of $133.3 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a January 9 release.

The US has approved the sale of missiles worth $133.3 million to Japan, saying it will serve to reinforce the Asian country's defence against the ballistic missile threat from North Korea. In theory, the new missiles would give Japan a better shot at shooting down a ballistic missile arcing over Japan.

The deal will improve Japan's ability to work with US missile defense systems and protect USA military bases in the region while creating USA defense jobs and supporting the health of the USA defense industrial base.

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 United States mainland.

South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held the first senior-level dialogue in about two years, agreeing to hold military talks to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. 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 system will commence operation in 2019-2020.

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. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warning that the deal could undermine bilateral relations "including negotiations on a peace treaty" that has not been concluded between Russia and Japan since WWII.

The Japanese government is aiming at having the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy Aegis vessels share targeting information through this new system.