The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has commissioned its first Maya-class Aegis Destroyer, JS Maya (DDG-179), which features ballistic missile defence capabilities.

Japan Marine United (JMU) delivered the destroyer to the Defense Ministry at its Isogo shipyard located in Yokohama.

JS Maya, which can counter short to intermediate-range threats with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor, is the newest member to join the fleet.

Sources with knowledge of the matter said the upgraded anti-ballistic missile interceptor system of the destroyer was jointly developed by Japan and the US.

Xinhua quoted JMSDF as saying that the destroyer has improved manoeuvring capabilities and offers wider defensive coverage for intercepting missiles.

Weighing 8,200t and measuring 170m in length, JS Maya features a ‘Cooperative Engagement Capability’ system that can determine the position of missiles and aircraft accurately.

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This information will be shared with other militaries.

Defense Minister Taro Kono told media sources: “I expect (the ship) to lead our comprehensive missile air defence capabilities.”

The Maya-class vessel is fitted with the Aegis Baseline J7 combat system and the AN/SPQ-9B radar system from Northrop Grumman.

JMSDF plans to deploy JS Maya at its base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The Ministry said that there are plans to add an eighth Aegis-equipped destroyer to its fleet in March next year.

In September 2018, JMSDF successfully tested an upgraded Aegis combat weapon system from onboard the service’s Atago-class-guided-missile destroyer JS Atago (DDG-177).

The Japanese Flight Test Mission-05 tested the ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability of JMSDF for the first time.