According to government authorities, Japan’s Ministry of Defense is planning to construct two ballistic missile defense ships, which would be among the largest warships in the country’s fleet since World War II.
India Commissions a Carrier, Japan to Build Two 20,000 Ton Missile Defense Warships
One hundred things requested as part of the Ministry of Defense’s FY23 budget proposal that did not have a fixed cost at the time of budget release included design costs and engines for the two Aegis BMD ships. For the upcoming fiscal year, the Ministry of Defense has sought $39.7 billion in spending, which is more than the $38.4 billion budget for that year.
According to USNI News at the time, the two ships would be constructed in place of the land-based Aegis Ashore systems that the Japanese Self-Defence Force abandoned in 2020 due to the possibility of missile fragments falling to the ground.
According to Kyodo News, the then-Minister of Defense Taro Kono told reporters, “We will halt the procedure in view of the cost and time [required] for the deployment.”
“For the time being, we’ll continue to use Aegis-equipped destroyers to preserve our missile defense capability.”
The two Aegis destroyers will be among the biggest and heaviest ships the JMSDF will operate with a displacement of about 20,000 tonnes, a length of 690 feet, and a beam of about 130 feet. While Japan’s largest destroyers are the Maya class destroyers, the Izumo class helicopter destroyers have a displacement of 19,800 tonnes (27,000 tonnes with a full load), a length of 800 feet, and a beam of 124 feet.
With improved staff accommodations, the ships’ 110-person crew will be able to stay on station for extended periods of time all across Japan. According to USNI News, the Ministry of Defense is likely pushing for the first ship to be commissioned in 2027 and the second in 2028.
Yasukazu Hamada, the current defense minister of Japan, stated during a news conference on Friday that two new ships will relieve the current eight Aegis destroyers of the BMD mission, allowing them to be used as a deterrent against maritime invasions in Japan’s south-west.
There are four Kongo-class, two Maya-class, and two Atago-class Aegis destroyers in the JMSDF’s current fleet of eight. A new ship with stronger interception capabilities than the old ships was needed, according to Hamada, as North Korea improved its ballistic missile operational capabilities, including the ability to execute multiple simultaneous launches and increased heights in their trajectories.
The two destroyers, according to Hamada, would be large enough to allow operations to be carried out in inclement weather and would have improved crew quarters to enable the ships to perform extended deployments. The capability of the ships to intercept hypersonic glide weapons was also mentioned by the Japanese defense minister.
The defense ministry is speeding up the procurement procedure to put the two destroyers into service more quickly than usual, according to Hamada.
In five years, he stated, “We believe it is an extraordinarily essential endeavor to substantially boost our defense capabilities.”
Not just Japan is interested in purchasing new ships. In a ceremony at Cochin Shipyard Limited, Kochi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially commissioned the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant (R11) into the Indian Navy. He also unveiled the new naval ensign for the Indian Navy.
In 2009, the keel for Vikrant was laid. The ship was supposed to be commissioned in 2016, however multiple delays during construction pushed that date back to 2022.
Fully loaded, the carrier has a displacement of 43,000 tonnes, is 262 metres in length, and is 62 metres wide. MiG-29K fighters, Kamov-31 and MH-60R multi-role helicopters are among the 30 aircraft that will make up the carrier’s air wing. Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy) are expected to operate from the carrier in the future.
The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet from Boeing and the Rafale-M from Dassault are competing for the Indian Navy’s order for 26 Multirole Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF) aircraft.
Vikrant has been commissioned, but due to flight tests and MiG-29K integration onto the carrier, it won’t be fully operational until mid- to late-2023.
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