Japanese MoD Launches First Ever Military Communications Satellite

Jan 26, 2017, 00:28

The launch and the separation of the satellite proceeded according to schedule, according to a statement from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The Defense Ministry's first communications satellite was launched Tuesday afternoon in a program aimed at upgrading the Self-Defense Forces' ability to better cope with security challenges.

Japan's Kirameki-2 satellite is based on x-band technology and it's among three other communication satellites that will replace satellites operated by SDF. According to Japanese the total cost of three satellites is 230 billion yen (S$2.88 billion).

The Kirameki-1 was supposed to be launched in July 2016, but was damaged during transport to a launch pad in French Guiana.

Japan and China has territorial dispute over some uninhabited islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. On the other hand, Kirameki-3 is meant to be launched in 2021. Both countries are also fighting over the exploitation of gas fields that cover exclusive economic zones they separately claim.

At the time, China described the movement as routine military exercises.

Japan scrambled fighter jets against Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace 644 times from April to December last year, nearly double the 373 times a year earlier, Japan's Ministry of Defense announced Friday. The satellite lifted off from Japan's Tanegashima spaceport on board an H-IIA rocket at 0744 GMT and effectively entered the circle, said a representative for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which manufactures the launcher. Necessity to use military satellites was conditioned by the government's efforts to improve the communication infrastructure amid nuclear and military threats on the part of North Korea.

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