The Japanese Ministry of Defense has proposed building a pair of ballistic missile defense ships at an estimated cost of 1 trillion yen ($7.1 billion), The Asahi Shimbun has reported.
The Aegis system-equipped vessels are an alternative to the Aegis Ashore system, the purchase of which the government canceled in 2020.
Tokyo scrapped the land-based missile defense system after pressure from residents concerned about having the system in their backyard. The system’s $4.2 billion cost was also a factor.
To Be Commissioned in 2027-28
The ministry issued its request for the warships in the fiscal 2023 budget request on August 31, the Japanese outlet stated, adding that the price includes vessel design and engine development.
According to the outlet, officials are pushing to include the vessel’s construction in the 2024 budget for it to be commissioned by the end of 2027. The second vessel is expected to be commissioned a year later.
Largest Japanese Vessel
The vessel would be 210 meters (689 feet) long and 40 meters (131 feet) wide with a displacement of 20,000 tons, heavier than any current vessel with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The vessel would be 50 tons heavier than the force’s Izumo-class destroyer being retrofitted as an aircraft carrier, the Osaka-based outlet said.
System Dedicated to North Korean Missile Threat
The Aegis system-equipped vessels are expected to relieve the eight Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers of ballistic missile defense responsibility, letting them focus on maritime threats in the country’s southwest, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said at a conference.
Hamada added that the proposed vessels would have a greater capacity to tackle the growing threat of North Korea’s ballistic missiles, including “multiple simultaneous launches and increased altitudes in their trajectories” compared to present vessels, USNI News reported.
The ships’ larger size would allow them to sail in rougher seas and larger crew quarters would enable longer deployment.
The outlet also said that the ships would have hypersonic weapons interception capability.
According to Naval News, the ASEV would include Lockheed Martin SPY-7 radar and Raytheon SM-6 missiles to counter cruise and anti-ship missiles.
It would also have an upgraded Type 12 ship-to-ship missile to target land and naval targets with a range of around 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).