(ILLUSTRATION) -- An artist illustration depicts a Lockheed Martin PAC-3 MSE (Missle Segment Enhancement) intercepting a hypersonic weapon launched by a near-peer adversary. The PAC-3 family of missiles are the only combat proven Hit-to-Kill interceptors that defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. Building on the combat-proven PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI), the PAC-3 MSE expands the lethal battlespace with a two-pulse solid rocket motor, providing increased performance in altitude and range. Mike Tsukamoto/staff; Christian Hänsel/Pixabay; Lockheed Martin

TOKYO (Agencies): The United States and Japan are set to invest over $3 billion in a joint venture to develop a new missile capable of intercepting hypersonic weapons, according to an unnamed Pentagon source quoted by Kyodo News. This initiative, known as the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) project, is expected to be completed by the 2030s, with Japan contributing $1 billion.

The GPI project was agreed upon by US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in August 2023. The new missile is being designed to intercept incoming hypersonic missiles during their most vulnerable glide phase of flight before they re-enter the atmosphere from space.

The Pentagon has indicated that in Japan, the GPI is likely to be installed on the future Aegis System Equipped Vessels (ASEVs) of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. The Aegis system, a US design, is intended to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

This development comes as the US strives to catch up with Russia and China in the race for hypersonic weapons, which include vehicles and missiles that travel at speeds exceeding Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. Following the termination of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, the US began developing a series of new anti-ballistic missile interceptors. In response, Russia revived plans from the 1980s for hypersonic weapons designed to defeat traditional ballistic missile defense systems.

China has also been at the forefront in the development of various types of hypersonic weapons, focusing on long-range missiles as an asymmetric counter to the superior technology of the US military. The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, signed by the US and the then-Soviet Union in 1972, collapsed in June 2002 when the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement.

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