Japan to expand ballistic missile defence with ground-based Aegis batteries

19 Dec, 2017 10:41 am

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan formally decided on Tuesday it would expand its ballistic missile defence system with US-made ground-based Aegis radar stations and interceptors in response to a growing threat from North Korean rockets.

A proposal to build two Aegis Ashore batteries was approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet.

The sites without the missiles will likely cost at least $2 billion and are not likely to be operational until 2023 at the earliest, sources familiar with the plan told Reuters earlier.

“North Korea’s nuclear missile development poses a new level of threat to Japan and as we have done in the past we will ensure that we are able to defend ourselves with a drastic improvement in ballistic missile defence,” Japanese Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

The decision to acquire the ground version of the Aegis missile-defence system, which is already deployed on Japanese warships, was widely expected.

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