This occurred on July 7 when Japan’s Vice Defense Minister Tomohiro Yamamoto visited a research center for aviation and rocket technology near Tokyo:
“In the afternoon, I went to the Air Systems Research Center in Tachikawa, Tokyo. First of all, after receiving an overview, I was confirming the research status of the next generation fighter, lightweight aircraft structure, stealth technology of weapon release, and jet engine and scrum jet engine. In the research of integrated fire control technology for fighter aircraft, I was conducted an air to air battle simulation”.
Japan’s Vice Defense Minister Tomohiro Yamamoto
Contrary to what has been reported in other media or blogs, this leak was purely intentional. Naval News Japanese contributor Yoshihiro Inaba explains that “First of all, the State Minister himself tweeted that he had been briefed on the scramjet engine”.
The scramjet engine is the technology that will be used for this future anti-ship missile and the term is therefore a direct reference to the missile project.
“Secondly, the State Minister has been warned before about posting pictures on Twitter, and he is probably very careful about tweeting these images” Inaba added. The fact that these pictures were willingly shared publicly is actually a way for the Japanese MoD to show the world and its potential foes that Japan too is actively working on hypersonic missiles…
In addition to minister Yamamoto Twitter account, the photos were also shared on the ATLA official account:
ATLA is Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency. The agency belongs to the Japanese MoD. Once again, this was no “accidental leak” by any means, quite the contrary. We are not even certain we can call it a “leak”. Here is why:
As Yoshihiro Inaba previously reported in Naval News, development work of this new missile began in 2019 according to official MoD documents that are still publicly available at this link. Sketches and artist impressions of the missile have been available for over a year now!
The development of Japan’s future missile is set to be completed in the 2030s.
The missile aims to be powered by a Dual-Mode Scramjet engine (DMSJ), a combination of ramjet and scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engines, to fly at a wide range of speeds, including hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 or higher.