Japan is building the largest warships in Asia, two 20,000-ton super destroyers.

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Photo credit: TED ALJIBE – Getty Images

  • Japan to build two 20,000-ton superdestroyers, the largest in Asia.

  • The two ships will protect Japan from ballistic missile attacks from China and North Korea.

  • The ships will be part of a revamped Japanese fleet that includes some of the best submarines in the world and a new pair of aircraft carriers.

Japan is preparing to build two of the largest surface warships in Asia, arguably the largest deployable surface warships in the world. The two unnamed destroyers will protect Japan from ballistic missiles from North Korea and China, missiles that can be armed with chemical or even nuclear warheads.

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The two destroyers News from the US Naval Institute reports, will be built specifically to accommodate the Aegis combat system, radar and SM-3 missile interceptors. Each ship will weigh about 20,000 tons, with a length of 690 feet and a beam of 130 feet, the news site reports.

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Photo credit: Portland Press Herald - Getty Images

Photo credit: Portland Press Herald – Getty Images

The United States Navy’s largest surface combatants, the three Zumwalt class stealth destroyers, are smaller than Japan’s planned ships. The US destroyers displace 16,000 tons each, measuring 610 feet long and 80 feet wide. Japanese ships will also use the Type 055. Shade of China Renhaiclass cruiser. At present, the largest surface warship in the world is that of Russia Pyotr Velikiy battlecruiser, which is attached to Moscow’s Northern Fleet, and is 827 feet long with a beam of 94 feet.

The two destroyers are unusually large for several reasons. First, the ships will likely carry the Raytheon-made SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), which is currently being fitted to the US Navy. Arleigh Burkeclass destroyers. Second, the ships must have a relatively large number of SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptors on board to provide durable defense. Third, the two ships will spend very long periods at sea, with their radars constantly beaming, waiting to detect incoming threats. The ships require large fuel tanks for propulsion, combat systems and radar.

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Photo credit: DANIEL MIHAILESCU - Getty Images

Photo credit: DANIEL MIHAILESCU – Getty Images

Over the past twenty years, Japan has gradually built up a ship-based missile defense capability. Japan has built eight guided missile destroyers, each with the same missile defense capabilities as the burkeclass ships. The expanding missile and nuclear weapons arsenals of North Korea and China have burdened this small fleet, which is also responsible for anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft defense and other traditional destroyer missions. The two new ships will free up existing destroyers to do destroyers again.

The missile defense capability of the two ships was originally intended to be provided by a high-tech land base known as Aegis Ashore. Aegis Ashore lands the radar and missiles, but Japan’s infamous scarcity of usable land and a “not in my backyard” attitude on the part of many local governments forced Tokyo to put the entire system at sea. Japan essentially takes a system that was originally transferred from ships to land, and puts it back into ships again.

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Photo credit: MARK SCHIEFELBEIN - Getty Images

Photo credit: MARK SCHIEFELBEIN – Getty Images

The two unnamed ships join a larger, bolder Maritime Self Defense Force, the Japanese equivalent of a navy. In the late 2010s, in response to China’s naval build-up, Japan expanded its fleet from 16 attack submarines to 22, including the new lithium battery powered ones. taigeiclass submarines. It has also started the conversion of the “helicopter destroyers” Izumo and Kaga to full-fledged aircraft carriers that will pilot the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. Once completed, the two airlines will be Japan’s first since World War II.

Japan’s uneasy proximity to both North Korea and China is forcing the country to expand its defenses. The Maritime Self Defense Force will be responsible for submarine, surface, air and space threats, the latter through missile defense. The two new ships will essentially be responsible for placing a protective bubble over 125 million people. Rarely has so much depended on so few.

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