Japan to put new Aegis radars on warships after cancelling ground stations: Media

In a photo taken on Jan 18, 2019, a facility of Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex is pictured in Kauai, Hawaii, US. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan will put new powerful Aegis radars on warships to upgrade its defences against possible ballistic missiles fired by North Korea after it cancelled plans to deploy them at two ground-based stations, the Asahi newspaper reported.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government is likely to approve the recommendation by the country's National Security Council before the end of the year, although any decision on type of vessel or cost will be left until next year, the paper said, citing unidentified sources.

A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment.

Deploying the new Aegis radars could cost twice as much and take up to three years longer to complete than the ground-based versions, which were expected cost of around US$2 billion (S$2.67 billion) to build, a source with knowledge of the proposal told Reuters earlier.

In June, then defence minister Taro Kono suspended plans for two Aegis Ashore sites, citing the possibility that interceptor missile booster rockets could fall on nearby residents.

Fitted with Lockheed Martin Corp SPY-7 radars that will have at least three times the range of older Aegis systems deployed on Japanese navy destroyers, the upgrade will allow Japan to use new interceptor missiles to target warheads in space fired by North Korea or other potential foes, including China and Russia.

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