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EXCLUSIVE: Japan to study new missile detection method

  • October 27, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 5:22 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 27 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Defense Ministry is set to launch a study on a new missile detection method, with an eye on cutting-edge missiles being developed by China and Russia, Jiji Press learned Tuesday.

The method, called limb observations, is designed to detect far-distant missiles from a lateral direction by deploying multiple artificial satellites in the same orbit, informed sources said.


Through the study, the ministry will consider the feasibility of the new detection method.


China, Russia and North Korea are developing new low-altitude, high-speed missiles, separately from ballistic missiles, which fly on a lofted trajectory.


While it is difficult to detect and track such new missiles by ground radars, observing them from space with artificial satellites is believed to be effective, according to the sources.


The United States is promoting a project to deploy a constellation of over 1,000 small artificial satellites in a low-altitude orbit to detect new missiles. The Japanese ministry is considering joining the project, the sources said.


As each satellite to be used in the envisaged limb method is expected to cover a wider observation range than that under the constellation method, the former will require a smaller number of satellites than the latter.


Meanwhile, a satellite for the limb method may require a higher resolution because it would have to detect missiles from a great distance.


The ministry will shortly outsource the study on the limb observation method to the private sector, aiming to receive research results, including its feasibility in terms of detection accuracy and costs, by the end of March next year, the sources said.


The ministry has requested 200 million yen for research on satellite constellations under the Japanese government’s budget for fiscal 2021, which starts in April next year.

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