In a display of enhanced defense cooperation with its allies, the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) of Japan conducted the first-ever test-firing of its Type-12 anti-ship missile in Australia. The launch took place during the multinational Talisman Sabre military exercise, showcasing the joint efforts of Japan, the United States, and Australia in rehearsing tactics to counter potential naval and amphibious threats.
The live-firing event, carried out at the Beecroft Weapons Range in New South Wales, involved a 200-kilometer-range missile launched from a truck-mounted system. The test targeted an unmanned location in the East Australia Exercise Area off the coast of Jervis Bay. The primary objective of the drill was to enhance tactical skills and interoperability in anti-ship operations while keeping China in mind as a potential adversary.
To further bolster the defense capabilities of its remote southwestern islands, Japan is working on an improved version of the ground-launched Type-12 system. This new variant will be equipped with extended range capabilities, ranging between 200 km and 1,000 km, and is expected to be operational by 2026. Additionally, Tokyo has plans for further advancements, including an extension of the missile’s range to approximately 1,500 km and the development of an air-launched version.
The successful demonstration marks a significant milestone in Japan’s defense collaboration with Australia. The firing exercise, initially scheduled for Friday, was postponed due to adverse weather conditions but proceeded the following day. GSDF Chief of Staff Gen. Yasunori Morishita emphasized the importance of Japan’s increasing participation in the biennial Talisman Sabre exercise, which aims to strengthen a free and open Indo-Pacific region through enhanced defense cooperation with like-minded nations.
The missile launch was not only a demonstration of maturing defense ties between Japan and Australia but also aimed to familiarize the public in both countries with closer military collaboration and a potential future alliance. The exercise utilized the open space off the coast of Jervis Bay as a strategic location for the missile firing, contrasting the crowded waters around Japan.
Following the Type-12 anti-ship missile demonstration, the GSDF will be engaged in several other drills in the upcoming days. These exercises will include amphibious and anti-air operations, with the latter featuring live-fire training using the Type 03 medium-range air-defense system.
The Talisman Sabre military exercise, the largest to date, sees the participation of approximately 480 GSDF personnel and 610 Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) personnel. In total, 30,000 military personnel from 13 different nations are taking part in this year’s event, indicating a growing emphasis on high-end, multi-domain warfare capabilities and strengthening strategic partnerships in the region.
The GSDF and MSDF’s participation in this multinational training exercise is a testament to their commitment to enhancing operational capabilities and tactical skills through multilateral integrated operations. As the drills take place primarily in Queensland, with additional activities in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales, the participants are presented with a challenging and complex training environment.
China is expected to dispatch its warships to international waters off Australia to monitor the military exercises, as has been observed in previous years. However, the focus remains on fostering cooperation and interoperability between the participating nations to bolster regional security and stability.
The Talisman Sabre exercise also welcomes the involvement of other countries, such as Germany and South Korea, both participating for the first time. Germany has sent more than 200 troops to Australia to strengthen its focus on the Indo-Pacific region amid growing security concerns. The German forces will conduct joint amphibious maneuvers alongside Japanese and U.S. troops.
South Korea will also test-fire its advanced Chunmoo multiple rocket launcher system from Australian soil. The large firepower demonstration at the Shoalwater Bay Training area in Queensland will include multinational forces from the United States, Japan, and Australia, showcasing the synchronization of kinetic and nonkinetic actions across all joint warfighting domains.
The Talisman Sabre exercise serves as a crucial platform for enhancing operational capabilities, interoperability, and strategic partnerships among participating nations in the Indo-Pacific region. As the exercise enters its tenth iteration, it solidifies the commitment of these nations to collective security and preparedness in the face of emerging regional challenges.
The successful test-firing of Japan’s Type-12 anti-ship missile in Australia marks a significant advancement in the defense cooperation between Japan and its allies. The multinational Talisman Sabre military exercise demonstrates the commitment of Japan, the United States, and Australia to strengthen regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. As the participating nations continue to hone their operational capabilities and tactical skills through joint exercises, the exercise series serves as a testament to the growing collaboration and strategic partnerships in the region.