The Maritime Self-Defense Forces’ seventh Aegis-equipped destroyer Maya was commissioned on Thursday. It is the first MSDF ship to carry the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) developed to protect Japanese and U.S. destroyers from cruise missile attacks. It is expected to significantly improve air defense capabilities.
With a total length of 170 meters and a displacement of 8,200 tons, the Maya is one of the largest Aegis-equipped destroyers of the SDF. The destroyer, which is based at the MSDF Yokosuka base, was named after Mt. Maya of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, in the Rokko mountain range.
The CEC allows allies to instantly share the location of enemy missiles and aircraft. It is possible to intercept missiles that cannot be detected by the ship’s radar based on information obtained from aircraft ahead. Conventional Aegis-equipped destroyers can only respond to missiles detected by their own radar.
Only the Maya is equipped with CEC, and the SDF will operate CEC in cooperation with the U.S. military for the time being. CEC will be mounted on the destroyer Haguro, which is scheduled to be commissioned in March next year as the second Maya-type destroyer. CEC is also being considered for the early warning aircraft E-2D, which is expected to form a fleet of 13 aircraft. The introduction of CEC is expected to boost the capability of coping with China’s rapidly improving cruise missiles and North Korea’s ballistic missiles.
Defense Minister Taro Kono said at a ceremony in Yokohama to commission the Maya on Thursday, “As a leader of the overall missile defense capability, I hope that you will work hard to respond to the mission as soon as possible.”