The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) will increase its number of Aegis destroyers amid heightened tensions with China, Naval News reported.
The development was reportedly included in the country’s National Defense Strategy, a 10-year guideline document for bolstering diplomacy, defense, and economic security.
According to the document, two Aegis-equipped vessels will be added to the fleet, raising the number of ships capable of intercepting enemy ballistic missiles to 10, Naval News wrote.
The JMSDF will also reportedly deploy two more Aegis destroyers by the end of the decade, further increasing the fleet to 12 vessels.
Aegis Combat System
The Aegis combat system is a centralized, automated command-and-control system developed by Lockheed Martin to detect and kill enemy missiles.
It has a high-performance radar with advanced search, track, and missile guidance functions.
The system can simultaneously track more than 100 targets and features an interface allowing simultaneous operations such as anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare.
Defense Against China
The move to expand Tokyo’s fleet of Aegis destroyers is considered a necessary step to protect the country from sophisticated Chinese anti-ship missiles.
It would bolster the JMSDF’s defense capabilities to prepare for future armed conflicts.
Earlier this week, the Japanese Ministry of Defense claimed it had detected a Chinese drone over the Miyako Strait.
A Guizhou WZ-7 Soaring Dragon reportedly flew over the East China Sea and passed over Okinawa and the Miyakojima islands, prompting Japan to scramble its jets.
Tensions also rose last year after several ballistic missiles fired by China were suspected of having landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.