Japan launches lead Maya-class ballistic missile defense destroyer

Future JS Maya (DDG-179) was launched at the JMU shipyard in Yokohama on July 30. Photo: JMSDF

The Japan Marine United Corporation has launched the first of two new improved Atago destroyers for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) at its shipyard in Yokohama.

Launched in a ceremony on July 30, the lead destroyer was named Maya – after a mountain in Kobe and a WWII heavy cruiser – and will be the namesake of what is currently a class of two Aegis-equipped, 8,200-ton destroyers.

Maya (DDG-179) is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020 after undergoing further outfitting and trials.

The 170-meter Maya-class (also known as 27DDG-class) ships will be equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9/Ballistic Missile Defense 5.1 variant, referred to as J7 for Japanese destroyers, and Raytheon’s Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) – s sensor data sharing tool currently fielded only on US and Australian Navy ships.

Powered by two combined gas turbine-electric and gas turbine (COGLAG) engines, the ship and 300 crew are propelled to a maximum stated speed of 30 knots.

Maya-class destroyers will field the SM-3 Block IIA missiles, for interception of short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and will be capable of launching SM-6 anti-air missiles.

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