A launching ceremony for an 8,200-ton, JS Maya (DDG-179) Improved Atago-class destroyer for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was held Monday at a plant in Yokohama’s Isogo Ward as Tokyo keeps steadily bolstering its defense capability against North Korean and Chinese missiles in close cooperation with U.S. military forces. The 170 m-AEGIS-equipped destroyer entered the water at the Japan Marine United (JMU) Corporation’s facility in Yokohama and is expected to be commissioned in March 2020. JS Maya 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.
When deployed, the destroyer built on the back of a ¥164.8 billion ($1.5 billion) budget for the ship and its weapon systems — will be one of Japan’s most powerful naval ships, boasting the latest version of the state-of-the-art Aegis combat system, which can be closely linked to the U.S. naval combat network. JS Maya 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.
Aegis consists of powerful computers, radars and missile-launching systems capable of tracking dozens of targets simultaneously and firing a number of missiles at once. The Improved Atago class will be capable of launching Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IIA ballistic missile interceptors and also capable of deploying Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) air-defence missiles. The ship will boast the latest version of the system, which can fire powerful SM-3 Block IIA missiles capable of intercepting much faster ballistic missiles — such as those test-fired by North Korea in a steep lofted trajectory into the Sea of Japan last year.
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. Improved Atago-class destroyer, which has a crew of about 300, is also equipped with multifunction towed array (MFTA) sonar systems and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities. 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 ships propulsion system has been changed from COGAG from Atago class to a COGLAG to improve fuel economy.