(Reuters) – Analysts warn Asia could slide into an accelerated arms race as countries respond to China’s military growth.
Here is a list of defense systems that several Asian countries are seeking to acquire.
The country announced on September 16 that it would build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines as part of an Indo-Pacific security partnership with the United States and Britain.
Australia will also boost its long-range strike capability with Tomahawk cruise missiles deployed to naval destroyers and air-to-surface missiles for its F / A-18 Hornet and F-35A Lightning II jets capable of hitting targets at a range. distance of 900 km. (559 miles).
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Long-range anti-ship missiles (LRASM) will be deployed on its F / A-18F Super Hornet jets, while guided precision strike missiles capable of destroying targets over 400 km are planned for its ground forces.
It will also work with the United States to develop hypersonic missiles as part of the trilateral security agreement, dubbed AUKUS.
Separately, the US State Department approved in June the potential sale of 29 Boeing Co AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Australia for up to $ 3.5 billion.
It on Friday announced plans to spend A $ 240 billion ($ 8.69 billion) over the next five years to improve its weapons capabilities – a program that is expected to include long-range missiles and missiles. existing cruise ships.
The program will include a new missile, which Taiwanese media say could have a range of up to 1,200 km and is an improved version of the Hsiung Sheng cruise missile.
In 2020, the U.S. government approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon coastal defense systems, three weapon systems including missiles, sensors and artillery, and four sophisticated aerial drones to Taiwan. They are worth around $ 5 billion in total.
Last month, Washington approved the potential sale of 40 howitzer systems to Taiwan in a deal valued at $ 750 million.
It successfully tested a conventional submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on September 15, becoming the first country without nuclear weapons to develop such a system.
The missile is said to be a variant of the country’s Hyunmoo-2B ground ballistic missile, with a flight range of around 500 km.
Last year, it developed the Hyunmoo-4 missile https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-southkorea-analys-idUSKBN2BM0G8, which has a range of 800 km and can mount a payload of 2 tons.
South Korea unveiled other new missiles, including soon-to-deploy supersonic cruise missile
It also worked to develop solid-fuel rocket engines as part of a plan to launch a spy satellite by the end of the 2020s, and successfully completed a test firing in July. .
Its Ministry of Defense, in a medium-term plan published in 2020, detailed a proposal to build three submarines. Officials said two of them – with a displacement of 3,000 tonnes and 3,600 tonnes – would be based on diesel engines, but declined to say how the larger, at 4,000 tonnes, would be powered.
Building a nuclear submarine was part of President Moon Jae-in’s election promises, but he never officially announced it after taking office in 2017.
In July 2019, North Korean state media showed leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a newly built large submarine. While it does not describe the submarine’s weapons, analysts said the ship’s apparent size indicated it was designed to carry ballistic missiles.
Later in the year, the nuclear-weaponized North Korea said it had successfully tested a new SLBM from the sea, and in January it presented a new SLBM design https: // www. reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-politics- idUSKBN29J2YG during a military parade in Pyongyang.
Its state media said this month that the country had tested its first railroad-based missile launch system.
It serially produces its DF-26 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-anniversary-military-idUSKBN1WG342, a multipurpose weapon that can be equipped with nuclear warheads and has a range of up to 4 000 km.
During a parade in 2019, China also unveiled new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and showcased its advancing intercontinental and hypersonic missiles, designed to attack the aircraft carriers and bases that underpin the US military force. in Asia.
Its hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17, can theoretically maneuver at several times the speed of sound, making it more difficult to counter.
It also has DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, the backbone of Chinese nuclear deterrence, capable of reaching the United States with multiple warheads.
He has spent millions of dollars on long-range aerial launch weapons and is developing a new version of a truck-mounted anti-ship missile, the Type 12 https://www.reuters.com/world/china/japan- develop- longer-range-anti-ship-missiles-china-pressure-supports-2020-12-18, with an expected range of 1,000 km.
In 2020, the US State Department authorized Japan to purchase 105 Lockheed F-35 fighter jets from Japan at an estimated cost of $ 23 billion.[VnL1N2EG2KC]
(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin in Seoul, John Mair in Sydney, Ben Blanchard in Taipei; written by Miyoung Kim. Editing by Gerry Doyle)
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