Japan, U.S. to Team Up on Satellites for Detecting Glide Weapons; ‘Killer Satellites’ Also Driving Space Cooperation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to the media about his visit to the United States at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden were set to confirm their cooperation on developing a satellite network to detect and track hypersonic glide weapons at a Japan-U.S. summit on Wednesday, according to several government sources.

The two countries aim to strengthen their missile defenses and counter North Korea and China, which are developing the weapons.

Hypersonic gliders fly at low altitudes and speeds faster than Mach 5 and are highly maneuverable, making them difficult to detect. To track the gliders, the United States is developing a satellite constellation, in which many small satellites are operated as a single system.

A joint statement that was to be released after the summit would state that the United States will cooperate with Japan in building a satellite network in low-Earth orbit. The two nations were also to confirm cooperation for launch tests, information sharing and analysis.

The two leaders will also work together on space surveillance, in light of China and Russia developing “killer satellites” to attack other countries’ satellites.