The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s new Aegis-equipped destroyer Maya will be equipped with the US-supplied Standard Missile-6 system to shoot down cruise missiles, according to informed sources, Jiji Press reported.
The Maya destroyer plans to carry out an interception test in the United States in 2022, the sources said. An SM-6 system will also be installed on another Maya-type ship under construction. It is also be equipped with a ballistic missile defense system being jointly developed by Japan and the United States.
The ministry is promoting an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) initiative through the Aegis vessels, early-warning aircraft and radars in view of cruise missile threats from China and North Korea. The SM-6 system will be part of the IAMD initiative.
In addition, it will be equipped with the U.S.-developed Cooperative Engagement Capability system, which enables the sharing of information on enemy missile locations among multiple Aegis ships and early-warning aircraft. The CEC system will be used for missile interceptions by the SM-6.
The ministry included ¥13.2 billion in its fiscal 2019 budget request to acquire the SM-6 interceptors. The Maya, which has state-of-the-art ballistic missile defense capability, is slated to be commissioned in 2020.
The launch of the Maya is expected to facilitate information-sharing with U.S. warships and the integrated operability of the SDF and U.S. forces.
The Aegis-based SM-6 system is believed to be used for protecting the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense facilities that may be set up in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures from cruise missile attacks.
China possesses air-to-surface cruise missiles with a range of 1,500 km that can be armed with nuclear warheads.