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Japanese government to deploy 22 new destroyers with minesweeping capabilities

By JAPAN NEWS | YOMIURI Published: November 24, 2018

The government plans to introduce a new type of destroyer with minesweeping capabilities, with the aim of increasing the number of such vessels to 22 in the 2030s, sources said.

In light of the intensifying activities of the Chinese Navy in the East China Sea, including around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, the government aims to improve warning and surveillance capabilities. The plan will be stipulated in the National Defense Program Guidelines to be revised in December.

The standard displacement of the new destroyer is 3,900 tons. The government plans to start construction of two of the new destroyers in fiscal 2018. They are due to enter service in March 2022. From fiscal 2019, the government plans to construct two of the vessels annually, with a total of 22 new destroyers to be in service by around 2032.

Currently, the Maritime Self-Defense Force has no destroyer with minesweeping capabilities. The sources said that the new destroyers will be able to carry out unmanned operations detecting mines on the sea floor and disposing of them. Their mobility will also be improved.

The cost of construction for the new destroyers is about 50 billion yen, which is less than that of the latest general purpose destroyers, which cost about 73 billion yen.

A total of 47 destroyers, including general-purpose and helicopter destroyers, are currently in service. Aegis destroyers are among the 47 destroyers that are capable of carrying guided missiles. The main task of destroyers is to monitor the movement of foreign naval vessels in waters around Japan.

The new destroyer is expected to be the core of warning and surveillance activities in the East China Sea, where many small islands are located, and will be operated together with minesweepers and transport vessels.

If mines are laid around a remote island, the new destroyer will be able to dispose of those mines in collaboration with minesweepers. Transport vessels will then be dispatched to transport the Ground Self-Defense Force's Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade to a remote island.

Under the new National Defense Program Guidelines, the government intends to maintain a plan to have a total of 54 destroyers deployed, which is included in the current guidelines. The number of destroyers currently in service will be cut to 32, as some of them will be retired from service. The total will number 54, including the 22 new destroyers.
 

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