Japan launched on 30 July the first of two Improved Atago-class destroyers on order for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
Named Maya (pennant number 179), the 170 m-long vessel entered the water at the Japan Marine United (JMU) Corporation’s facility in Yokohama and is expected to be commissioned in March 2020.
The vessel, which will be the seventh JMSDF ship to be equipped with the Aegis Combat System, is 5 m longer than the Atago-class destroyers. Maya will use the Aegis Baseline J7 supported by the Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1D-series radar.
The ship, which cost about JPY168 billion (USD1.51 billion) to build, will feature the US-developed Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system, which will enable it to act as part of a wider ‘grid’ of sensor and weapon platforms that allows other CEC-equipped ships to share surveillance and targeting information.
The JMSDF plans to provide Maya and its sister ship, which is expected to enter service in 2021, with this capability to exchange data with similarly equipped platforms to better counter threats such as those posed by North Korean ballistic missiles.
Maya has a standard displacement of 8,200 tonnes, which is approximately 400 tonnes more than the Atago-class ships. Powered by two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines in a combined gas turbine-electric and gas turbine (COGLAG) configuration, the platform can reach a top speed of 30 kt.
The ship, which has a crew of about 300, is also equipped with multifunction towed array (MFTA) sonar systems and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.
The Improved Atago class will be capable of launching Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IIA ballistic missile interceptors. A spokesperson at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo told Jane’s that even though the ship is also capable of deploying Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) air-defence missiles, it is still unclear whether they will be included in the ship’s equipment.
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