Factbox: An intensifying arms race in Asia

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By Reuters
Factbox: An intensifying arms race in Asia
Factbox: An intensifying arms race in Asia   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p> – Analysts warn that Asia may be sliding into an accelerating arms race as countries react to China’s military growth.</p> <p>Here is a list of defence systems several Asian countries are looking to acquire.</p> <p><span class="caps">AUSTRALIA</span></p> <p>The country said on Sept. 16 it would build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines under an Indo-Pacific security partnership with the United States and Britain. </p> <p>Australia will also enhance its long-range strike capability with Tomahawk cruise missiles deployed on naval destroyers and air-to-surface missiles for its F/A-18 Hornet and F-35A Lightning II jets that can hit targets at a range of 900 km (559 miles).</p> <p>Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (<span class="caps">LRASM</span>) will be deployed on its F/A-18F Super Hornet jets, while precision strike guided missiles capable of destroying targets from over 400 km are planned for its land forces.</p> <p>It will also collaborate with the United States to develop hypersonic missiles under the trilateral security deal, dubbed <span class="caps">AUKUS</span>.</p> <p>Separately, the U.S. State Department approved in June the potential sale of 29 Boeing Co AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Australia in a deal worth up to $3.5 billion.</p> <p><span class="caps">TAIWAN</span></p> <p>It announced a plan on Friday to spend T$240 billion ($8.69 billion) over the next five years to upgrade its weapons capabilities – a programme that is likely to include long-range missiles and existing cruise missiles.</p> <p>The programme will include a new missile, which Taiwanese media say could have a range of up to 1,200 km and is an upgraded version of the Hsiung Sheng cruise missile.</p> <p>In 2020, the U.S. government approved the potential sales of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems, three weapons systems including missiles, sensors and artillery, and four sophisticated aerial drones to Taiwan. They are worth about $5 billion in total.</p> <p>Last month, Washington approved the potential sale of 40 howitzer systems to Taiwan in a deal valued at up to $750 million.</p> <p><span class="caps">SOUTH</span> <span class="caps">KOREA</span></p> <p>It successfully tested a conventional submarine-launched ballistic missile (<span class="caps">SLBM</span>) on Sept. 15, becoming the first country without nuclear weapons to develop such a system.</p> <p>The missile is believed to be a variant of the country’s ground-based Hyunmoo-2B ballistic missile, with a flight range of about 500 km.</p> <p>Last year, it developed the Hyunmoo-4 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-southkorea-analys-idUSKBN2BM0G8 missile, which has an 800 km range and can mount a 2-ton payload.</p> <p>South Korea unveiled other new missiles, including a supersonic cruise missile to be deployed soon</p> <p>It has been also striving to develop solid-fuel rocket engines as part of a plan to launch a spy satellite by the late 2020s, and successfully carried out a test firing in July.</p> <p>Its defence ministry, in a midterm plan released in 2020, detailed a proposal to build three submarines. Officials have said two of them – with a displacement of 3,000 tons and 3,600 tons – will be based on diesel engines, but declined to specify how the largest one, at 4,000 tons, would will be powered.</p> <p>Building a nuclear submarine has been among President Moon Jae-in’s election pledges, but he has never officially announced it after taking office in 2017. </p> <p><span class="caps">NORTH</span> <span class="caps">KOREA</span></p> <p>In July 2019 North Korean state media showed leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a large, newly built submarine. While it did not describe the submarine’s weapons, analysts said the apparent size of the vessel indicated it was designed to carry ballistic missiles.</p> <p>Later that year, nuclear-armed North Korea said it had successfully test-fired a new <span class="caps">SLBM</span> from the sea, and in January it showcased a new <span class="caps">SLBM</span> design https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-politics-idUSKBN29J2YG during a military parade in Pyongyang.</p> <p>Its state media said this month the country tested its first railway-based missile launching system.</p> <p><span class="caps">CHINA</span></p> <p>It is mass producing its DF-26 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-anniversary-military-idUSKBN1WG342, a multipurpose weapon that can be fitted with nuclear warheads and has a range of up to 4,000 km.</p> <p>At a 2019 parade, China also unveiled new unmanned aerial vehicles (<span class="caps">UAV</span>s) and showcased its advancing intercontinental and hypersonic missiles, designed to attack the aircraft carriers and bases that undergird U.S. military strength in Asia.</p> <p>Its hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17, theoretically can manoeuvre at many times the speed of sound, making it more difficult to counter.</p> <p>It also has DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, the backbone of China’s nuclear deterrent, which are capable of reaching the United States with multiple warheads.</p> <p><span class="caps">JAPAN</span></p> <p>It has spent millions of dollars on long-range air-launched weapons, and is developing a new version of a truck-mounted anti-ship missile, the Type 12 https://www.reuters.com/world/china/japan-develop-longer-range-anti-ship-missiles-china-pressure-mounts-2020-12-18, with an expected range of 1,000 km.</p> <p>In 2020, the U.S. State Department authorized a deal for Japan to buy 105 Lockheed F-35 fighter jets to Japan at an estimated cost of $23 billion.[VnL1N2EG2KC]</p> <p/> </div>