US approves SM-2 Block IIIB sale to Japan
The US State Department has made a determination approving a potential foreign military sale of Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIB missiles, equipment, and support to Japan for an estimated $821 million, it was announced on 19 July.
Japan has requested 246 SM-2 Block IIIB vertical launching tactical all-up rounds, and Mk 13 Mod 0 vertical launching system canisters. It has also requested operator manuals and technical documentation, and US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services.
Japan currently operates four Kongo-class and two Atago-class destroyers equipped with the Aegis combat system and SM-2 Block IIIA/IIIB missiles; and is also building two more destroyers with the Aegis systems. The requested SM-2 Block IIIB missiles would be used on these two new destroyers and to supplement Japan's missile inventory.
The SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, together with the Aegis system, provide area defence capabilities to these Japanese destroyers over critical Western Pacific and East Asian air and sea-lines of communication. Japan already has two Intermediate-Level Maintenance Facilities that can maintain the SM-2 missiles.
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