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Japan is enhancing its air defense. It will finalize the deployment of Patriot PAC-3 MSE air defense missile system to four military bases until June this year. The hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE provides performance enhancements that counter evolving threat advancements, according to armyrecognition.com citing Yahoo Japan news.
The current Patriot PAC-3 batteries deployed in Japan have a maximum firing range of 70 km, and the upgraded version of the PAC-3 MSE has an extended range up to 100 km.
In December 2017, Lockheed Martin has won a $944 million contract to deliver Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles to the United States and allies including Japan.
The upgraded PAC-3 MSE expands the lethal battlespace with a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, providing increased performance in altitude and range.
PAC-3 MSE is a high-velocity interceptor that defends against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft. The missile uses Hit-to-Kill technology, which engages threats through kinetic energy via body-to-body contact.
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono has publicly announced a decision to suspend the establishment of two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in the country indefinitely. Kono cited technical issues and rising costs as the main factors, but there has been significant domestic opposition to the program, which already forced Japanese authorities to abandon plans to deploy one of the missile defense systems, according to thedrive.com.