Seventh ballistic missile defence-capable destroyer enters Japanese service

Japan has put into service the first of a new class of guided-missile destroyers with ballistic missile defense capabilities, as the U.S. ally continues to bolster its defences against the ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

Named the Maya (DDG-179), the first of two 27DDG-class destroyers ordered by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was commissioned yesterday in a ceremony attended builder Japan Marine United’s shipyard at Isogo Ward in Yokohama, south of Japan’s capital Tokyo, according to Japan’s Defense Ministry.

The 8,200-ton, 170-meter–long destroyers are equipped with the Aegis Baseline J7 combat system and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B radar system, which provides the capability to detect and track low-flying, high-speed, low-observable anti-ship missile targets in heavy-clutter environments.

Aegis Baseline J7 is the Japanese equivalent for the current Aegis Baseline 9/BMD 5.1 standard.

The ships will also be able to fire the SM-3 Block IIA missile currently being jointly developed by the United States and Japan for ballistic missile defence, and will be fitted with Cooperative Engagement Capability for improved interoperability with other similarly-equipped platforms in Japanese and other allied inventory.

The northeast Asian country has also been flagged as a potential customer for the SM-6 missile developed for use against air, surface and some types of ballistic missile targets.

The Maya is the seventh Aegis-equipped destroyer in JMSDF service, with the second 27DDG class destroyer, which has been named the Haguro, scheduled for commissioning sometime in 2021.

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