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Japan plans to acquire two new vessels equipped with AEGIS combat system

According to news published by Japanese newspapers on May 14, 2021, the Japanese Ministry of Defense plans to acquire two new combat ships equipped with an AEGIS integrated naval weapons system.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Japanese navy JS Haguro Maya-class AEGIS-equipped destroyer. (Picture source Military Leak)

The Aegis Combat System (ACS) is an advanced command and control and weapon control system that uses powerful computers and radars to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. The system includes anti-aircraft warfare weapons including Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS), and the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System that provides a rapid-fire missile launch capability against hostile threats.

Initially developed for the United States Navy, the Aegis is now into service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Spanish Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, Republic of Korea Navy and Royal Australian Navy. Over 100 Aegis-equipped ships have been deployed. It is also part of NATO's European missile defence system.

According to Japanese military sources, the construction of the two new vessels would cost over 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion). In December 2020, Japan has approved the construction of two Aegis ships after the Japanese ministry in June last year dropped its initial plan to deploy the land-based defense system to address the North Korean missile threat.

Citing the Kyodo News Plus website, the new vessels are part of Japan's plans to enhance its defense capabilities. The ministry is considering installing weapons that can counter not only ballistic missiles but also various aerial threats such as cruise missiles and fighters, amid China's growing assertiveness in the region.

Currently, the Kong-class guided missile destroyer of the Japanese Navy equipped with the Aegis Combat System, and is the first of few ship classes outside the United States that was equipped with AEGIS. The Maya-class guided misile destroyer was improved with with an updated Aegis Combat System and electric propulsion system. The first ship of this class was commissioned in March 2020.