The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force commissioned the first of two Maya Class, Aegis-equipped destroyers in a ceremony held on 19 March in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture.
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The first ship is the 170-metre-long JS Maya, which has been inducted into the service’s Escort Division 1 of Escort Flotilla 1 at the Yokosuka naval base shortly after being handed over by shipbuilding company Japan Marine United.
Maya is now the seventh Japanese ship in operation equipped with the aegis combat system. It was laid down in 2017 and launched July 2018. The second of the class, Haguro, was launched in July 2019 and will enter service in 2021.
Maya has cost about US$1.61 billion to build and is five metres longer than the Atago Class destroyers operated by the JMSDF.
The destroyer is equipped with the Aegis Baseline J7 supported by the Lockheed Martin/Raytheon AN/SPY-1D(V) phased array radar and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B X-band (NATO I-band) (8-12.5 GHz) high-resolution fire-control radar.
The ship is equipped with the US-developed Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system, which enables the destroyer to act as part of a wider ‘grid’ of sensors and weapon platforms that allow other CEC-equipped ships and military aircraft – such as Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft – to share surveillance and targeting information. With this capability, the ship will be able to better counter threats such as those posed by North Korean ballistic missiles.
The two Maya Class ships will field Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles designed to intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The destroyers are also expected to deploy Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) air-defence missiles in the near future.
Australia recently accepted the third of its own air warfare destroyers, the Hobart Class NUSHIP Sydney, on 14 February. The keel of Sydney was laid down on 19 November 2015 and launched on 19 May 2018. The vessel started sea trials in September 2019.