The Japanese Self Defense Forces are exploring the use of drones in early missile launch detection and interception. The idea was spurred by the failure of North Korea to launch its missile in April. The current Japanese early warning system, an array of systems comprised of satellites, aegis cruisers, and ground based radar, was unable to detect the launch of the missile because it never reached a detectable altitude. Though the DPRK missile launch was an embarrassment for the regime, it reminded the Japanese of certain cracks in their armor thus the project pursuing the use of drones in detection and possible interception has become reality. Of course, this type of application would be of interest to other states in East Asia, such as Taiwan and South Korea.

[The Diplomat]