TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is worried the United States has so far declined to arm it with a powerful new radar, arguing the decision makes the U.S. missile defense system it plans to install much less capable of countering a growing North Korean threat, three sources said.
Japan wants to have a land-based version of the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) system operational by 2023 as a new layer of defense to help counter North Korea’s missile advances.
Yet, without the new powerful radar, known as Spy-6, Japan will have to field the system with existing radar technology that has less range than a new generation of BMD interceptor missiles, the sources who have knowledge of the discussion told Reuters.
That could mean that while the interceptor has enough range to strike a missile lofted high into space, the targeting radar may not be able to detect the threat until it is much closer.
Japanese officials have witnessed a demonstration of Spy-6 technology, which boosts the…