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A second Japanese TACOM unmanned aerial vehicle has crashed. The first drone crashed in February. TACOM, a UAV that resembles subsonic cruise missiles and is capable of being launched from fighters, has cost $250 million USD so far to develop.

The ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute said the engine of the drone, developed as a reconnaissance aircraft, stopped shortly before 9:30 a.m. Friday after it went on a test flight from the Maritime Self-Defense Force base on the island, about 1,200 km south of Tokyo.

The institute guided the plane into the sea about 9 km off the island by remote control about 2 minutes later for safety reasons, it said. (Link)

Why is this the “anti-Superman” drone?

the drone was carrying capsulated radioactive material called Krypton-85, the amount is too small to harm the environment or affect human health, it said.

The use of Krypton-85 indeed sounds mysterious and potentially lethal to anyone named Kal-El, but according to the Straits Times/AFP:

The drone was carrying 107.7 kilobecquerels of krypton 85 in a sealed glass capsule to be used for igniting the jet engine, a science and technology ministry official told AFP.

‘The quantity was close to the lower limit of the restricted range,’ said Tomokazu Ueda, an official in charge of nuclear safety at the ministry. (Link)

Purpose of TACOM is unknown, although one commenter on JSW advanced the idea that it might be used to simulate aircraft on hostile radar screens.

And let’s not forget, it was the Japanese who invented the cruise missile.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch