This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

MAST Asia 2017: JMSDF Tested its XSSM Anti-Ship Missile against Barracuda USV-MT Target
 
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 8 At MAST Asia 2017 (Maritime Air Systems & Technologies), the naval defense exhibition held last week in Tokyo, Navy Recognition learned that Japan's Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA), a branch of the MoD, used a surface target from Canadian company Qinetiq Target Systems to test one of its latest generation anti-ship missile: the XSSM.
 
a
MAST Asia 2017 Online Show Daily - XSSM Missile / USV Target
 
 
 
MAST Asia 2017: JMSDF Tested its XSSM Anti-Ship Missile against Barracuda USV-MT Target
 
At MAST Asia 2017 (Maritime Air Systems & Technologies), the naval defense exhibition held last week in Tokyo, Navy Recognition learned that Japan's Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA), a branch of the MoD, used a surface target from Canadian company Qinetiq Target Systems to test one of its latest generation anti-ship missile: the XSSM.
     
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 1A sign on Qinetiq's stand at MAST Asia mentionned that the "Barracuda USV-MT successfully completed mission for ATLA XSSM project". The picture shows USV-MT aboard a JMSDF vessel prior to the test.
     
Qinetiq's Barracuda unmanned surface vehicle - missile target (USV-MT) is a 9 meters fiberglass hull RHIB powered by a D4 300hp marine diesel engine. Navy Recognition learned that the RHIB comes from French company Zodiac Milpro (specifically from the Zodiac Hurricane product line). Like the USV-T series on which it is based, the USV-MT operates at speeds up to 25+ knots in sea state 3, and is designed to carry significant weapons and performance measurement payloads for test and evaluation purposes.
     
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 2Scale model of Barracuda USV-MT on Qinetiq stand at MAST Asia 2017
     
The Barracuda USV-MT allows for remote control from distances greater than 10 nautical miles or can be optionally configured for over the horizon (OTH) control utilizing satellite link. A digital radio command link controls the target's course and speed, while telemetry and video signals from the target provide the operator with system performance and position information. A self-contained tracking capability is achieved using position data from the on-board GPS.

In addition to the weapons performance measurement systems, the Barracuda USV-MT can be equipped with visual, radar and laser signature enhancements to present a convincing likeness to a variety of naval threats to exercise naval guns, radar and visual IR sensors for naval combat systems. The system is a proven effective surface-to-surface and air-to-ground target.

Navy Recognition learned during MAST Asia 2017 that Qinetiq already delivered 10 USV-T (for gun target) to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and 1 USV-MT specifically for the XSSM test. The JMSDF is the first customer for the MT variant. The navies of Germany, Sweden, Australia and South Korea are existing customers of the USV-T variant.

A sign on Qinetiq's stand at MAST Asia mentionned that the "Barracuda USV-MT successfully completed mission for ATLA XSSM project". Representatives from Qinetiq and ATLA at the show declined to comment on the exact date of the test.
     
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 3XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 4Ship spotter pictures showing JMSDF experiment ship JS Asuka coming back to base with an empty missile canister in January 2017. Thanks to きりしま/ @phantom2navy for the pictures.
     
XSSM anti-ship missile
There is scarce and conflicting information about XSSM. Open sources mention that it is based on the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Type 12 truck-mounted anti-ship missile, itself based on the Type 88 (SSM-1). A Japan MoD document from 2012 mentions that XSSM is project of "low risk and cost effective anti-ship missile family". XSSM could come in several variants including air-launched and ship-launched one. In late January 2017, ship spotters took pictures of JMSDF experiment ship JS Asuka coming back to base with an empty missile canister. Japanese ship spotters believe JS Asuka took part in the XSSM test and launched the missile.
     
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 5
Upgrade and evolution path of Japanese anti-ship missiles. This chart hints at a convergence between XASM-3 and Type 12/XSSM developments.
Image via blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ddogs38/
     
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 63D rendering of XASM-3. Via blog.goo.ne.jp/sekiseikai_2007. XSSM may be sharing its shape and performances.
     
Talking to Navy Recognition at MAST Asia 2017, a Japan defense industry source who didn't wish to be nammed explained that XSSM shares many similarities with the XASM-3 air-launched anti-ship missile (also currently in development and which is rumored to have been recently tested), including its shape/looks and performances.

XASM-3 is capable of reaching Mach 3 speeds thanks to its ramjet engine fed by two air intakes (in a similar fashion to MBDA's Meteor air to air missile of to the French ASMP-A air-launched tactical nuclear missile). XASM-3 is flying close to sea level in the final stage of attack to reduce probability of detection and intercept.

XASM-3 basic specifications:
Overall length: 5.25m
Maximum speed: Mach 3 or more
Firing range: 80nm (about 150km) or more
Weight: 900kg
Power: Integral Rocket Ramjet
Navigation and seeker: inertial / GPS (intermediate stage) + active / passive seeker (terminal phase)

The source confirmed a speed in excess of Mach 3 and range in excess of 80nm for both XSSM and XASM-3.
Both missiles are currently being developped by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
     
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 7
Estimated range of 5x XSSM truck-based launchers strategically located to lock down the "first island chain".
Image via blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ddogs38/

     
Strategic Importance of XSSM
The ground launched variant of XSSM is of strategic importance to Japan as it will help its armed forces to lock down the "first island chain", from the Japanese archipelago to the island of Taiwan. This is an area of tension between Japand and China. In December 2016, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) aircraft carrier Liaoning and its escort sailed between Miyako Islands and Okinawa Island, in the Ryukyu Japanese archipelago, effectively crossing the "first island chain" and penetrating into the Western Pacific.

Navy Recognition would like to thank twitter users @sdkfz1224 and
@phantom2navy for their help and contribution with this article.
     
XSSM anti ship missile test JMSDF Qinetiq Barracuda USV MT target MAST Asia 2017 Japan 8Artist impression of XASM-3 in flight