Image from a flight test conducted by the US and Japan early last year which resulted in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target using the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA. Photo: US Navy via AFP / Leah Garton

The Trump administration told Congress on Tuesday that it has given the green light to selling US-made SM-3 interceptor missiles to Japan in a deal estimated at US$133.3 million.

A statement from the State Department says sale includes four Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles, four MK 29 missile canisters, and other technical, engineering and logistics support services.

The SM-3 Block IIA is an anti-ballistic missile that can be deployed on Aegis-class destroyers or in a land-based Aegis Ashore program. The system was jointly developed by Japan and the US and the sale is intended to bolster Japan’s existing antimissile systems against North Korea.

“If concluded, this proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States by enhancing Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force’s ability to defend Japan and the Western Pacific from ballistic missile threats,” the official said.

The sale would also “follow through on President (Donald) Trump’s commitment to provide additional defensive capabilities to treaty allies” threatened by North Korea’s “provocative behavior,” the official added.

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