Japan plans to start establishing a unit consisting of 50 satellites to monitor military targets and their movement from a low altitude in two years, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Monday.
The report said that small optical and radar satellites would be launched starting from 2024 fiscal year, which will last from April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025.
The optical satellites would be able to take high-quality photos and videos of the Earth’s surface in good weather during the daytime, and the radar satellites, regardless of the time of day and weather conditions, would take radar images, the newspaper also said.
It added that the Japanese Defense Ministry was planning to create a network for detecting Russia and China-developed hypersonic weapons with planning blocks, but the first test device would be launched no earlier than 2027 because of a time-consuming manufacturing of an infrared sensor.
Currently, Japan’s medium-term budget spending on defense amounts to 27.47 trillion yen (over $195 billion). The country’s defense ministry has reportedly proposed an increase in the program to around 48 trillion yen to improve the country’s defense capability, but the finance ministry has suggested a sum of 35 trillion yen as the most realistic amount.
Earlier in November, the Kyodo news agency reported that Japan was planning to downsize two destroyers equipped with the US-made Aegis ballistic missile interceptor systems to increase the operability and seamlessness of the vessels.
In August, Japan was considering equipping two new warships with the Aegis combat information and control system. The new destroyers were expected to operate in the Sea of Japan to monitor, among other things, possible North Korean missile launches.