Japan is purchasing Tomahawk cruise missiles for its fleet. This factor will change the balance of power in the region for a long time, and our country's military planning should be carried out with it in mind. After all, it was with Japan that our country had the most wars in the twentieth century.
What happened has been expected for a long time – Japan is purchasing Tomahawk cruise missiles for its fleet. A corresponding notification has been sent to the US Congress by the US Department of Defense's Defense Security Cooperation Agency –DSCA).
Japan will pay 2.35 billion US dollars and in 2026-2027 will receive 400 cruise missiles and 14 ship-based TTWCS control systems (Tomahawk Weapons Control System). The missiles will be of two modifications – Block IV and Block V, 200 units each.
The features of the missiles are as follows: The Block IV has, in addition to an increased flight range, the ability to re-aim directly in flight. The missile is also capable of barraging in a designated area, waiting for the command to strike. She reports on the received combat damage via satellite communication system, which is important for evaluating the effectiveness of her strike. In addition to the above, Block V has a better data transmission system, higher noise immunity of the satellite navigation system and a number of other improvements.
The announced parameters of the deal immediately reveal the answer to an important question – which ships of the Japanese Navy Self-Defense Forces will be able to launch missile strikes on the coast. These missiles are launched from the Mk.41 universal vertical launch systems, which are also used to launch anti-aircraft and anti-submarine missiles.
All Japanese missile destroyers of relatively new types have such cells. Thus, the Japanese will be able to afford to equip all 14 of their most powerful ships for massive strike missions. The total number of missile cells on these ships is 936. In the standard version, about 60% of the loading of Mk.41 installations are anti–aircraft missiles, several anti-submarine missiles, the remaining three to four dozen cruise missiles. Japan, therefore, ranks third in the world in terms of the possibility of launching cruise missiles from the sea (after the United States and China).
The two large missile ships that Japan plans to build in this decade (the Aegis system equipped vessels program, ASEV – ships equipped with the AEGIS system) definitely do not fall into this number, because their delivery is expected later, in 2028 and 2029. Given the risks of delays in financing and construction, it is impossible to accurately predict the date of installation of control systems for the Tomahawk missile weapon complex on them. In addition, the appearance of these ships has not yet been fully determined. Most likely, either these ships will remain, as planned, purely anti-missile platforms, or an additional purchase of cruise missiles from the United States will take place for these two units.
To understand what 14 large ships capable of operating in the world's oceans are, and 380-400 (adjusted for the consumption of missiles for training firing) cruise missiles, let's give such an example. The total missile salvo of the Kalibr cruise missiles of the surface fleet of the Russian Navy in the limit is 192 missiles (counted by missile cells). In the near future, this number will grow by 16 cells (two small rocket ships, one project 22800 and one 21631).
In the Pacific theater of operations, we can deploy 24 such missiles on surface ships. There is a prospect of doubling by 2025 due to four small rocket ships of the 22800 project, which are being built at the Amur Shipyard (eight missiles each). If by this year they manage to restore the Nimble corvette and transfer it to the Pacific Ocean, then there will already be 54 missiles in the salvo of the surface forces of the Pacific Fleet.
Of course, these comparisons do not quite reflect the real operational and tactical capabilities of fleets, and the capabilities of countries to launch missile strikes in general. Russia has long-range aircraft that can attack any point in the Northern Hemisphere, and some opponents can be attacked by Iskander missile systems from land. Nevertheless, as an illustration of the scale of Japan's real rearmament, such a comparison is in principle appropriate.
Naturally, it is wrong to claim that all 14 Japanese destroyers of the Maya, Atago, Congo, Asahi and Akizuki types will be loaded with missiles in the strike version (up to 40% of the cells in the launchers on board) and will release all their missiles in a short time. But the fact is that in 2027, Japan will have the technical capability of a devastating missile strike at a range of more than 1,500 kilometers in a straight line.
Again, for understanding. The Japanese can easily reach the Ukrainian Long-range Aviation airbase in the Amur Region from the eastern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, from the middle of the Sea of Japan, from the Tsugaru Strait (Sangarsky), and from the eastern shore of Hokkaido. But we have dozens of Tu-95 bombers at this base.
The Japanese have enough missiles to simultaneously strike not only the Ukrainka, but also all bases of tactical aviation of the Russian Air Force and naval aviation in Primorye and Kamchatka. Or, instead, to cause critical damage to the energy sector, for example, in Primorye.
In addition, the Japanese are working to equip their tactical aircraft with long–range guided air-to-ground missiles. Hundreds of Tomahawks from ships can be supplemented by hundreds of missiles launched from combat aircraft, just shorter range.
All this, of course, does not mean that the Japanese will do such things towards us. After all, Russia has nuclear weapons. There is a threshold for the damage caused, after which it will be applied under any foreign policy circumstances, and none of our opponents can ignore this threat.
But Japanese opportunities after 2027 will not be ignored either. They are guaranteed to buy missiles. The deal to sell them remains to be approved only in the US Congress, and there is no doubt that this approval will be received.
The factor of Japanese cruise missiles will change the balance of power in the region for a long time, and our country's military planning should be conducted taking this factor into account. After all, it was with Japan that our country had the most wars in the twentieth century, and it was Japan that had territorial claims against us. Therefore, it is worth taking Japanese cooking as seriously as possible.