The U.S. State Department approved a $2.15 billion Foreign Military Sale (FMS) for Japan to buy two Aegis Weapon Systems (AWSs) for Japan’s upcoming Aegis Ashore sites and related equipment.

The sale covers the two AWSs, two multi-mission signal processors (MMSP), two command and control processor (C2P) refreshes.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii, successfully conduct launch a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor in Flight Test Integrated-03 (FTI-03). (Photo: Missile Defense Agency)

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the approval on Jan. 29.

The sale also includes radio navigation equipment, naval ordnance, two Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, global command and control-maritime (GCCS-M) hardware, two Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), construction services for six vertical launch system (VLS) launcher module enclosures, and associated equipment, logistical support, documentation, and spares.

A U.S. government official confirmed this FMS is for a land-based installation. In 2017 Japan announced it planned to build two Aegis Ashore sites similar to one in Romania (Defense Daily, Aug. 18, 2017).

Japan expects the sites to be operational by 2023

The U.S. and Japan plan to use the Raytheon [RTN] Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA, currently in development, for Aegis capable ships and Aegis Ashore sites. Japan currently fields the SM-3 Block IA on its Aegis-equipped Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Kongo-class and Atago-class destroyers.

In September, a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer conducted the country’s first Aegis missile defense intercept test using a SM-3 Block IB in the Pacific Ocean (Defense Daily, Sept. 12).

Likely referencing North Korea and its ballistic missile developments, the agency said the sale will provide Japan with “an enhanced capability against increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile threats and create an expanded, layered defense of its homeland.”

The main contractor for the AWS and MMSP will be Lockheed Martin [LMT] while the C2P refresh will be conducted by General Dynamics [GD].

Implementing the sale would require annual trips to Japan by U.S. government and contractor personnel for about eight years of technical reviews, support, and oversight.

In August, Japan said it chose Lockheed Martin [LMT] to provide its Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) for the Aegis Ashore sites, rather than go with Raytheon’s SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR).

The LRDR is planned to first be operational in Alaska in 2020 for use in the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. In contrast, the AMDR is being developed to upgrade the U.S. Navy’s Aegis destroyers and be a main feature on its upgraded Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyers.