(Screenshot of CCTV news program)
The air-to-ship supersonic missiles Japan plans to deploy will not be able to reach aircraft carrier formations because of their short range, a military expert said.
The Japanese government plans to equip the Air Self-Defence Force's (ASDF) F-2 fighters with a new air-to-ship supersonic missile as from next year, Japanese news agency, Yomiuri Shimbun reported on July 17.
The news agency said that the weapon was still being developed and mass production will begin in 2018.
Japan currently has two types of domestically-produced anti-ship missiles, and both are subsonic. The new supersonic missile will be the country's first, able to compete with the world's top weapons.
In addition, the missile could fly at a very low altitude, thus avoiding radar scan.
According to previous reports by Kyodo News, research on the missile by the Japanese Ministry of Defense and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, began in 2010 with an investment of over 30 billion yen ($267 million).
Military expert Du Wenlong told the CCTV that the missile has high speed and strong break-defense capability. However, the weapon's short range is a fatal shortcoming, he added. As a result, it cannot reach aircraft carrier formations.