Launched on July 30th from the Japan Marine United Shipyard in Yokohama, the JS Maya is the first of a new class of improved destroyers with ballistic missile defense capabilities. Each unit costs around US$1,5Bn and are being built at the Japan Marine United’s shipyard at Isogo Ward in Yokohama. The JS Maya is expected to be commissioned by the JMSDF in 2020. The (yet to be named) second ship is scheduled for launch in 2019 and commissioning set for 2021.
Dubbed DDG-27, this new project of improved Aegis destroyers started in 2015. The first ship of the class had its keel laid in April 2017. The new destroyer class is 170 meters long and displaces 8200 tons. She will operate with a crew of 310 sailors, and features a combined diesel electric and gas (COGLAG) propulsion system.
The Maya-class is the first of JMSDF’s Aegis destroyers ready for ballistic missile defense operations (BMD) from the time of commissioning, and is also the first of Japan’s AEGIS fleet to be equipped with Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) from the start. The CEC allows the ship to receive targeting information from other assets, such as US Navy of Royal Australian Navy AEGIS destroyers or American and Japanese E-2D AWACS aircraft. Japan has four E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft on order, with the first one delivered on March 29 to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
Fitted with the AEGIS Baseline J7 combat system and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B radar system, the Maya-class destroyers will be able to fire the latest iteration of Raytheon’s SM-3 ballistic defense missile. Being jointly developed by the U.S. and Japan, the SM-3 Block IIA features larger rocket motors that will allow it to defend broader areas from ballistic missile threats and a larger kinetic warhead.