US and Japan towards joint development of an anti-hypersonic interceptor 16/05/2024 | Editorial Team

The US and Japan signed a cooperation agreement to develop an interceptor intended for defence against manoeuvring hypersonic weapons, as part of the US Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) programme. The programme started in 2020, when US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) selected Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon for the development of an anti-hypersonic interceptor to be integrated into the US Navy's AEGIS Baseline 9 destroyer combat system. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman remained in the competition and were awarded the relevant contracts in June 2022. As part of bilateral cooperation, Japan will be responsible for the development of the engine and other components of the propulsion system. According to the agreement, the first deliveries are expected to start in 2030. However, as we learn from the National Defense Authorization Act - covering the 2024 fiscal year - presented by the US Congress last year, Washington aims to have an initial operational capability by the end of 2029 and a full operational capability by 2032, which will be deemed achieved when no less than 24 interceptors - a pre-series - are deployed. The US and Japan have already collaborated in a similar agreement to develop the STANDARD MISSILE SM-3 BLOCK IIA surface-to-air missiles.

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