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Japan eyes torpedo tubes to speed debut of sub-launched missile

Plan would allow deployment of weapons as early as 2028

Maritime Self-Defense Force submarines like the new Hakugei are known for their quiet operation underwater. (Photo by Toshiki Sasazu)

TOKYO -- Japan is looking to bring submarine-launched standoff missiles into service as soon as fiscal 2028, earlier than its original 2030s time frame, by using existing torpedo tubes while a new vertical launch system is under development.

The new weapons are part of the government's plan to enhance its ability to hit sites such as enemy missile bases and are part of a major defense expansion. Tokyo said Tuesday it had awarded a contract to develop the missiles to Mitsubishi Heavy, aiming for delivery to start in fiscal 2028.

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