The Japanese government has unveiled its research and development road map to create domestically-produced hypersonic weapons, the website Defence News reports.
The blueprint was singled out in a Japanese-language document published on the Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency website earlier this week.
Under the plan, there will be two classes of hypersonic weapon systems, including the Hypersonic Cruise Missile (HCM) and the Hyper Velocity Gliding Projectile (HVGP).
Powered by a scramjet engine, the HCM “appears similar to a typical missile, albeit one that cruises at a much higher speed while capable of traveling at long ranges”, Defence News argued.
As for the HVGP, it will reportedly feature a solid-fuel rocket engine capable of boosting its warhead payload and maintaining high velocity when gliding to its target.
The blueprint stipulates using different warheads to tackle seaborne and ground targets, including one that will be specifically designed to penetrate “the deck of an [aircraft] carrier”.
The warhead’s land-attack version, in turn, will feature a high-density explosively formed projectile, or EFP, to be used for area suppression purposes.
Both warheads, which will be navigated via satellites, are expected to enter service in the early 2030s, according to Defence News.
As far as warhead guidance is concerned, the process will be “achieved via either radio-frequency imaging converted from doppler shift data — which the government agency said will be able to identify stealthy naval targets in all weather conditions — or an infrared seeker capable to discriminating specific targets”, the news outlet reported.
Over the past few years, Japan has carried out research and development in a spate of fields pertaining to hypersonic weapons.
In 2017, local media reported the government planned to equip the F-2 multi-role fighters of the Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) with new, domestically-produced hypersonic anti-ship missiles that would be able to fly three times faster than the speed of sound and would replace previous transonic missiles.