The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) has launched the first ship of the future destroyer class, Akizuki, from the Nagasaki shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan.

The ship, one of three planned for launch by 2014, has a displacement of 5,000t and can carry a crew of 200.

The destroyer will be equipped with weapons including type 90 surface to surface missiles, an anti-torpedo system and two helicopters.

The destroyer of this class, known as 19 DD, is an improvement on the Takanami Class and has been designed to enhance the JMSDF’s performance in battles at sea.