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Exclusive: Lockheed confident about Aegis Ashore substitute

  • October 15, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 9:55 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 15 (Jiji Press)–U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. is confident of meeting any needs of Japan to provide a substitute for the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system, a senior official has told Jiji Press.

Japan’s Defense Ministry ditched its plan in June to deploy the land-based system in the northeastern prefecture of Akita and the western prefecture of Yamaguchi. It is considering diverting Lockheed Martin’s SPY-7 radar system and other related equipment to offshore use to establish a substitute for Aegis Ashore.

Lockheed Martin “is fully ready” to support any decisions by the Japanese government, Thomas Rowden, vice president for international strategy and business development at the company’s Rotary and Mission Systems, said of the offshore plan.

Japan is weighing up the options of mounting an interceptor system with radars on a destroyer, a commercial vessel or a large-scale offshore facility.

The ministry has commissioned companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011> to investigate the feasibility of the offshore plan, examining technical problems such as vibrations from waves, salt damage and how to secure a necessary electricity system.

The SPY-7 “is perfectly adaptable to a maritime environment,” Rowden said, adding that the system is set to be deployed on Spanish and Canadian ships. “I definitely do not think there will be challenges,” he stressed.

Rowden said that the radar system will be deployed to Spain in 2026 while the deployment date for Canada has not been announced.

The SPY-7 “can be scaled up or down as appropriate,” depending on what option Japan will take, he said. But he did not say how much or how long it will take to deploy the system.

The U.S. Navy has concluded a contract to equip in 2024 or later new Aegis warships with the SPY-6 radar system developed by Raytheon Co. of the United States, a Lockheed Martin rival.

Rowden claimed that the SPY-7 performs better than the SPY-6 in terms of detection and tracking capabilities.

He also said that the SPY-7 employs the technology used for Lockheed Martin’s surveillance radar system for long-range ballistic missiles, developed to defend the U.S. mainland, and can be serviced even when it is operating.

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