Japan Navy's Akizuki class destroyer JS Suzutsuki fires ESSM missile

According to information published by the Japanese MoD on June 28, 2023, the Akizuki class destroyer JS Suzutsuki, a part of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, conducted an exercise involving the launch of an anti-aircraft missile, ESSM, in the seas surrounding Hawaii in collaboration with the U.S. Navy.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Japanese Akizuki class destroyer JS Suzutsuki firing Evolved SeaSparrow Missile or ESSM. (Picture source: Japanese MoD)

With a mass of 620 lbs (280 kg) and a length of 12 ft (3.66 m), the RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) is compact but powerful.

The warhead, a 86 lb (39 kg) blast-fragmentation device, is triggered by a proximity fuze to maximize damage. Propelled by a Mk 143 Mod 0 solid fuel rocket, the ESSM can reach top speeds exceeding Mach 4, enabling it to quickly intercept fast-moving targets.

The missile has an operational range of over 27 nautical miles (50 km), providing substantial protection around the vessel from which it is launched. The ESSM uses a mid-course update datalink for guidance adjustment during flight, and for terminal tracking, it employs a dual-mode system with semi-active and active radar homing. This dual-mode system enhances its accuracy, making the ESSM a reliable weapon in naval warfare.

About the class

The Akizuki class destroyer has a standard displacement of 5,000 tonnes, increasing to 6,800 tonnes when fully loaded. The vessel spans 150.5 meters in length and 18.3 meters in width.

She employs a COGAG propulsion system, comprising of two shafts and four Rolls-Royce Spey SM1C turbines, enabling her to reach speeds up to 30 knots.

The ship's advanced technology command system, known as ATECS, along with the OYQ-11 ACDS, FCS-3A AAW system, OQQ-22 ASW system, NOLQ-3D EW system, and OPS-20C surface search radar make up her primary sensor and processing systems.

Armament includes a Mk 45 Mod 4 127 mm gun, eight Type 90 Anti-ship missiles, two 20 mm Phalanx Block1B CIWS, two HOS-303 triple 324 mm torpedo tubes, and an Anti-Torpedo system. She also features a 32-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launching System, which carries RIM-162 ESSM SAM, RUM-139 VL-ASROC, and Type 07 VL-ASROC.