Former JMSDF Destroyer Shirane Was Used as Target Ship for XASM-3 Anti-Ship Missile Test

Naval Forces News - Japan
Former JMSDF Destroyer Shirane Was Used as Target Ship for XASM-3 Anti-Ship Missile Test
According to ship-spoter pictures posted on Twitter, the decommissioned Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer Shirane (DDH-143) was successfully used as target ship for the XASM-3 supersonic anti-ship missile.
Former JMSDF Destroyer Shirane Was Used as Target Ship for XASM-3 Anti-Ship Missile TestShip spotter picture showing Shirane target ship on September 7th 2017. Note the gray tarp covering the missile impact zone. Picture via @toma_san.
Yesterday's picture show Shirane in Mojiko port with a gray tarp to cover the impact zone of the anti-ship missile on its flank (starboard side).

The first pictures to show decommissioned Destroyer of the JMSDF, DDH-143 Shirane (first ship of the class), prepared as a "target ship" (with reflectors in place) with markings painted on its flank emerged in March this year.

It has to be noted that Shirane, having completed its mission as target ship, was under tow by tug boats from Maizuru to Kure. But while passing through Kanmon strait, Shirane collided with a floating lighthouse because of bad weather. Therefore Shirane had to be taken to Mojiko port for inspection.
XASM 3 JMSDF Japan anti ship missile 3XASM 3 JMSDF Japan anti ship missile 4Spotter pictures showing a JMSDF DDH-143 Shirane destroyer turned into a target ship back in March 2017. Picture via @mkiipen twitter.
Obviously the XASM-3 missile used for the test didn't have a live warhead: The missile just punctered the hull of Shirane but didn't explode (this is common practice for anti-ship missile tests and development. The only exception being SINKEX sinking exercise).

Back in November 2015, Navy Recognition was reporting that, two JMSDF PDF documents emmerged, the first one about "technical support" for XASM-3 test against a ship, the other one regarding modifications to turn DDH-143 Shirane into a target ship for the XASM-3 test.
Video showing Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 Fighter test launching a XASM-3 missile. ATLA video.
We were reporting in 2015 that the test-firing would be done at a firing range designated “G airspace” close to Komatsu air base. According to the Japanese MoD in 2015 aerodynamic and captive carry tests on F-2 fighters had been completed and was then in the final stages of prototype manufacturing.

Japan's Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) released for the first time last month footage showing the XASM-3 supersonic anti-ship missile during a test launch. ATLA is a branch of Japan's MoD created in 2015 to "ensure technological superiority and respond to operational needs smoothly and quickly".

It was recently reported that the missile will enter mass production in 2018 and be officially introduced with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), it will then be called ASM-3.Japanese media Yomiuri Online said that ASM-3 is characterized as being "difficult to intercept" because of its speed and is an answer to the Chinese Navy (PLAN) recent "aggressive activities in the East China Sea".
Former JMSDF Destroyer Shirane Was Used as Target Ship for XASM-3 Anti-Ship Missile TestTwo XASM-3 missiles fitted on a Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 Fighter during recent tests (May 2017). Picture via twitter @MR2AW11SP
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)

We recently reported that a similar missile, the XSSM intended for the Japanese Navy (JMSDF) was also tested earlier this year.
Former JMSDF Destroyer Shirane Was Used as Target Ship for XASM-3 Anti-Ship Missile TestShirane towed into Mojiko port on September 7th. Picture via @toma_san
DDH-143 Shirane
The Shirane-class destroyers are a pair of Japanese destroyers originally built during the late 1970s. They are built around a large central hangar which houses up to three helicopters. They displace 7,500 tons. The second ship of the class, DDH-144 Kurama, is still in service.

Thank you to @hk840124 for the information and to @toma_san for the pictures.

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