By Hai Jing
The Japanese government recently passed the budget for the fiscal year of 2023 at a cabinet meeting, in which the defense budget has increased by 1.26 times from the previous fiscal year to 6.8 trillion Japanese yen. The country also debuted its sketch design of the super Aegis-equipped destroyers. According to the plan, Japan will build two such warships and deliver them to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) in 2028.
It is reported that despite being labeled as a destroyer, the vessel has a displacement of more than 20,000 tons. After it is commissioned in 2028, the JMSDF will have more and better-quality Aegis warships than the US Navy’s seventh fleet currently stationed in Japan. What’s Japan up to by making Aegis warships with the largest displacement in the world?
Current information in the public domain shows that the planned Aegis warship is of far better performance than Japan’s other Aegis destroyers currently in service, with all-round cutting-edge capabilities in reconnaissance, offense, and defense and plenty of room for upgrade.
First of all, the vessel has prominent situational awareness capability. Given its large body, strong self-supply capability, and ample power supply, the super destroy will be fitted with the SPY-7 large radar originally designed for the land-based Aegis anti-missile system. This phased array radar developed by American company Lockheed Martin is able to timely detect and steadily track incoming ballistic missiles or even hypersonic aircraft, and also achieve different detecting effects based on specific missions by adjusting the subarrays. This large phased array radar will enable the super destroyer to monitor the rival’s missile launch training or test in peacetime while acting as the commanding ship of a taskforce in wartime.
Second, the vessel is balanced in defensive and offensive capabilities. At first sight, it has only 80 vertical launching units, less than the 96 ones onboard JMSDF’s currently most powerful Maya-class Aegis destroyer, but the new version will adopt larger and mightier launchers and missiles.
Japan is also planning on installing several new missiles that it’s developing right now on the super destroyer, including the type-12 shore-to-ship missile (extended range) with a range of more than 1,000km and stealth design, and the hypersonic cruise missile with a range of over 3,000km. It’s also learnt that the destroyer has reserved space for laser weapons, electromagnetic guns, and other new-generation subversive weapons.
Japan has several reasons for piling all these advanced weapon systems on the super destroyer – this will help it acquire the aggressive capabilities of attacking the military bases and commanding units of other countries, something it has dreamed of for a long time, and will also significantly augment the capability of its maritime, land and air platforms to carry out strikes in coordination.
There is no doubt that the new military vessel is a case in point of how Japan’s right-wing political forces have drifted farther away from pacifist and blatantly accelerated the military buildup, and also the latest manifestation of Japan being a pawn in pushing America’s major-country competition strategy. The series of steps it has taken to fortify its military strengths and break away from the pacifist constitution will pose a serious threat and challenge to regional security and will arouse steadfast opposition from regional countries. The Japan-US collusion goes counter to the trend of peaceful development and win-win cooperation in the Asia Pacific and will be condemned by the people living in the region.