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The US and Japan Confirm their Collaboration on the Development of Counter-Hypersonic Technologies

US and Japan (Credits: RAND Corporation)

The US and Japan are collaborating on a counter-hypersonic missile system known as the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) Cooperative Development program. This initiative, established during the security consultative committee meeting in January 2023, aims to address the growing threat of hypersonic weapons.

A White House statement highlighted that the joint development program was reaffirmed during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the US.

Although specific details about the program have not been disclosed, it is known that the US Missile Defense Agency has contracted Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to work on refining the GPI concept.

US and Japan Flags (Credits: iStock)

The GPI system is expected to utilize the ship-based Aegis Weapon System to launch interceptors that will engage hypersonic glide vehicles just before entering the atmosphere. This approach involves modifying the existing Aegis system and developing new interceptors tailored to counter hypersonic threats effectively.

Hypersonic weapons pose unique challenges due to their ability to glide through at speeds exceeding Mach 5, making them harder to intercept compared to ballistic missiles. They can maneuver both vertically and horizontally, adding complexity to defense strategies.

In addition to the GPI program, efforts are underway to develop hypersonic tracking satellites. The Space Development Agency has contracted L3Harris Technologies and Northrop Grumman to create low Earth orbit satellites capable of monitoring hypersonic vehicles.

Joe Biden (Credits: CNN)

Initially, 28 satellites will be developed, with 100 planned. Japan has also announced its plans to launch satellites for tracking hypersonic glide vehicles developed by China and Russia.

The collaboration between the US and Japan in countering hypersonic threats may extend to developing a satellite network for enhanced detection and tracking capabilities, as suggested by analysts before the official announcement from the White House.

This joint effort reflects the growing importance of addressing advanced missile technologies and enhancing defense capabilities against emerging threats.

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