Japan Tests Chu-SAM Anti-Air Missile
By WENDELL MINNICK, TAIPEI
Japan tested its new medium-range Chu-SAM surface-to-air missile on Nov. 30 in what is being described as a successful live launch at the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Center’s McGregor Range in New Mexico, local press reported.
The Chu-SAM already has been tested six times at New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range. The missile will replace the aging Improved Hawk System fielded by Japan in various models since 1965.
Manufactured by Mitsubishi Electronics, the Chu-SAM is a mobile launch system that uses active radar homing and electronic countermeasures to interdict aircraft, air-to-surface missiles and cruise missiles.
“The Chu-SAM was developed in Japan to bridge the gap between Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force’s Patriot Air Defense system and Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force’s Type-81 short range SAM system,” said Sumihiko Kawamura, deputy director of The Okazaki Institute, Tokyo.
The $1.29 billion design phase was completed in 2002, and the new missiles are expected to go into production within the next two years.
This is the second indigenous SAM produced by Japan, following Toshiba’s Type-81 Tan-SAM short-range mobile air defense missile. First fielded in 1981, the 100-kilogram missile is mounted on a Type 73 3.5-ton truck and is used only against aircraft. An estimated 1,800 Tan-SAMs and later 550 upgraded Tan-SAM-kais were manufactured.
“In accordance with the National Defense Program Outline, eight of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force Air Defense Groups are equipped with the Improved Hawk medium range SAM at the present time,” Kawamura said. “Chu-SAM has been designed to go beyond the Improved Hawk in ... dealing with multiple targets, anti-lower altitude targets and missiles, in addition to high ECCM capability, the decreased numbers of operator and long range mobility.”
Manufactured by Mitsubishi Electronics, the Chu-SAM is designed to interdict aircraft, air-to-surface missiles and cruise missiles. The design phase of $1.29 billion was completed in 2002 and the new missiles are expected to go into production within the next two years. The Chu-SAM is a mobile-launch system that uses active radar homing and electronic countermeasures.