Japan Tests Hypersonic Boost-Glide Munition

Japan Tests Hypersonic Boost-Glide Munition

Japanese ATLA has announced the firing test of its ground-launched HGVP hypersonic boost-glide munition to be placed on islands. 

Naval News reports that the missile has a range of 900 km. With HGVP, Japan has joined the U.S. and China in developing hypersonic glide weapons. A large rocket booster separated upon expending its fuel brings HGVP to a high altitude and hypersonic speeds. 

The glide vehicle uses aerodynamic controls to alter its course towards the target. ATLA plans to increase the range incrementally by blocks up to 3000 km. The capability to strike warships is among the new weapon’s end-game goals. 

Previously, an animation showed a glider vehicle used against an aircraft carrier. This hints at Japan trying to counter the Chinese aircraft carriers and likely LHDs that are expected to grow further in numbers in the coming years. ATLA’s work in the hypersonic field extends beyond the boost-glide munition. A railgun, with a prototype conducting firing tests in late 2023, is another significant development. 

The railgun is planned to be used on warships and land vehicles as artillery. In addition to its artillery role, the railgun is planned to be used as an alternative air defence effector, with an air-burst munition that operates similarly to ATOM and AHEAD rounds.