Japan's Defense Ministry is considering launching longer-range missiles on Kawasaki C-2 transport planes, the Japan Times reported on August 6th, 2023.
Japan's defense minister said the plan aims to enhance its standoff defense capabilities and use the missiles to attack enemy bases such as missile launch sites in counterstrike operations.
The ministry is considering using a type of missile whose engine illuminates in the air after the missile is dropped during flight. This type does not need major changes to aircraft. The United States is advancing related technologies. The ministry secured 3.6 billion dollars in related expenditures in the fiscal 2023 budget. Full-scale development will commence in fiscal 2024, after technical research is carried out. Interestingly, the missiles that would be airdropped by the C-2 would be the US Joint Air-to- Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, for F 15 fighter jets, with a range of about 900 kilometers, set to be introduced for F - 15 fighter jets; an air-launched version of the Japanese-made Type 12 SSM surface-to-ship missile with a range of 900 1,000 km would also be under development.
The system is being considered by the Japan Defense Ministry for purpose and used missile, similar to the US Rapid Dragon Palletized Effects System, which is used by the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command aboard the MC -130 J Commando II.
The Rapid Dragon allows for the deployment of long-range cruise missiles by using standard airdrop procedures from a cargo aircraft. The AGM 158 JASSM with a range in excess of 200 nautical miles and its extended-range version, the AGM 158 B Joint Air-to-Surfish Standoff Missile Extended Range JASSM-ER with a standoff distance of over 500 nautical miles, are GPS-guided radar-evading cruise missiles with 2,250 pound penetrator blast fragmentation warheads.
The JASSM cruise missile has precision routing and guidance in adverse weather conditions, such as day or night, using an infrared seeker in addition to the anti-jam GPS to locate and destroy high-value, well-defended targets. After successful extraction, the AGM JASSM-ER Joint Air-to- Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range missiles extend their wings and turn on the engine.
The purpose of a tactical airlifter to carry cruise missiles is quite simple: compared to most fighters, the transport planes like the C - 2 would be able to carry more missiles and remain airborne for longer periods.
The Kawasaki C - 2 is a long range twin engine transport aircraft designed to replace the old C - 1. The C - 2 is capable of carrying 110 passengers and travelling about 7,600 kilometers with 20 tons of cargo. As of May 2022, Japan has also converted the second prototype to an ELINT variant, dubbed RC 2.