Northrop Grumman, IHI team up to bolster Japan’s space domain awareness capabilities

SEOUL, South Korea — Northrop Grumman and Japanese heavy-industry producer IHI Company have signed a memorandum of understanding March 15 to develop “small, extremely maneuverable satellites and different options” that can assist bolster Japan’s area area consciousness capabilities, notably for geosynchronous orbit. 

The 2 firms mentioned their collaboration was to attain Japan’s objective of reinforcing its area area consciousness capabilities and associated infrastructure, which is stipulated in Japan’s National Defense Strategy, launched Dec. 16, 2022. “With the intention to reply to threats to the steady use of area, MOD/SDF will develop floor and space-based surveillance capabilities, build-up a Area Area Consciousness (SDA) construction, and bolster the resiliency of our area belongings to allow the continuation of missions in response to numerous conditions,” reads the technique. MOD and SDF check with Japan’s Ministry of Protection and Self-Protection Forces, respectively.

The signing ceremony for the deal, held on the sidelines of a neighborhood protection and safety commerce present known as DSEI Japan, was attended by a director normal of Japan’s protection ministry, and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. Whereas a lot of the details about the satellites and options the businesses will collectively develop stays undisclosed, IHI mentioned in a March 15 statement the satellites will “make the most of current Northrop Grumman satellite tv for pc buses.” In keeping with Nikkei Asia, the collectively developed satellites will be capable to strategy suspicious satellites, take photographs and ship the pictures to the bottom for evaluation.

“Whereas some satellites transfer in GEO in a pleasant method, there are additionally extra satellites that transfer round suspiciously,” IHI mentioned within the assertion. “Because of this, Japan’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy of December 2022 name for strengthening SDA and stipulate the necessity for SDA satellites, each from the angle of guaranteeing sustainable financial exercise in addition to nationwide safety.”

IHI vp Fumiharu Namiki expressed worries about “an increase in navy surveillance efforts from different international locations, which is turning into a nationwide safety risk.” He famous that efforts are wanted to “characterize suspicious satellites to know the risk.”

Northrop Grumman vp Troy Brashear welcomed the deal, saying the pair will “quickly work collectively in the direction of an inexpensive and efficient SDA answer for Japan.

Reinforcing area protection capabilities 

The Northrop-IHI deal is the most recent in a sequence of efforts Japan has made to bolster its area protection capabilities. In January, Japan launched a categorised radar reconnaissance satellite tv for pc right into a sun-synchronous orbit aboard the nation’s workhorse, H2A. The satellite tv for pc, named IGS Radar-7, is tasked to observe North Korea’s navy actions. On prime of this, the nation’s Air Self-Protection Pressure is transferring to add space to its operational domain

America is a key supporter of Japan’s endeavor to bolster area protection capabilities. The 2 international locations have labored collectively on a variety of area safety points. In January, the 2 nations agreed to strengthen cooperation on area capabilities, during which Washington determined to increase its safety umbrella into outer area to guard Japanese satellites. In December 2020, the U.S. Area Pressure and Japan’s Workplace of Nationwide Area Coverage agreed to launch two U.S. area sensor payloads for area area consciousness on Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite tv for pc System, a constellation used for regional navigation. The primary of two sensors have been delivered to Japan in January. The primary sensor will fly on QZS-6 and the second on QZS-7, presently projected to launch in 2023 and 2024, respectively.


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