Military


DD115 Akizuki 19DD 5000 ton Destroyer

The JMSDF has been commissioning new warships at a planned pace. In March 2012, Destroyer Akizuki, the lead ship of the new Akizuki-class destroyers (with a 5,000-ton displacement) was commissioned. Destroyer Akizuki is a general-purpose destroyer with enhanced Anti-Aircraft Warfare capability. The remaining three ships of the same class, namely, Destroyers Teruzuki, Suzuzuki, and Fuyuzuki will be commissioned respectively in 2013 and 2014.

The 19DD is the lead ship in a new class of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter-capable destroyers and is designed to incorporate the latest advancements in shipboard mission systems. The Maritime Self-Defense Force's Heisei 19 (2007) annual program includes procurement of one vessel of the 5000 ton 19DD class. The vessels will provide advanced defense against air, submarine, and surface threats in area defense of the new DDG Groups. These vessels will succeed the destroyers planned for decommissioning from FY 2011, and will be tasked with protection of the Aegis destroyers from air, submarine, and surface attack. Much is expected of the class in terms of improved area defense through the use of advanced technologies for defense against air, submarine, and surface threats.

The Japan Defence Agency (JDA) included a request for the first of four planned new destroyers in its budget covering Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07). Provisionally known as the 19DD, the new class of ship displaces about 5,000 tons and is aimed to replace the oldest five Hatsuyuki-class destroyers in the current inventory. It is estimated to cost JPY84.4 billion (USD717 million), with the keel to be laid in FY07 for a service date of 2011.

The new destroyer is to be powered by a COGAG system with two shafts to produce a maximum speed of more than 30 kt. The design includes a low radar cross-section mast to increase stealth capability. The weapons fit is to include one 5-inch 62-cal Mk 45 Mod 4 gun and a Mk 41 vertical-launch system with an unknown number of cells. There are also to be two Type 90 quadruple surface-to-surface missile launchers, two triple torpedo tubes, two close-in weapon systems and one helicopter. A large flight deck could support SH-60K helicopters. The fire control is from an FCS-3 Kai.

The 19DD program is linked to a restructure outlined in the JDA's core policy document, the National Defence Program Guideline. This would see the number of Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) escort divisions reduced to eight from the previous 12, with the number of ships in each increased to four from two to three. The plan envisaged four flotillas, each composed of two types of escort divisions: four DDH groups, consisting of one of the future helicopter carrier destroyers, one Kongo-class destroyer and two other destroyers; and four DDG groups, comprising one Kongo and three other destroyers. Thus a total of thirty two destroyers of various types are required, including eight Kongo class destroyers. A 19DD will be deployed with each group to provide protection against surface, sub-surface and air threats, to allow the Kongo to focus on missile defense.

Exact classes making up the two types of escort division had yet to be released as of 2008. However, the two types of escort division were geared to become the main tactical units of the MSDF surface-combat fleet, providing the navy with more operational flexibility. Parallel to this change, the MSDF planned to reduce the number of its district-level escort divisions to five from the current seven. The number of major surface combatants would drop from 52 to 47 during the FY05-09 Mid-Term Defense Plan.

There were several accusations made regarding the involvement of a former Vice-Minister of Defense in the selection and procurement of the engines for the ASDF’s next-generation cargo aircraft (C-X), the engines installed in biological reconnaissance vehicles and minesweeper/cargo helicopters (MCH-101), and the engines installed in 19DD destroyers. As a result, there have been calls for even further transparency in the decision-making processes of the Ministry of Defense.

Former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya, arrested on 30 November 2007 over bribe-taking charges, made comments apparently favoring the selection of General Electric Co. over Rolls-Royce Plc around January 2007 to supply engines for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's next-generation 19DD destroyer, according to sources familiar with the case. GE had hired defense trader Nihon Mirise Corp. as its sales agent for the engines. Nihon Mirise was set up by Motonobu Miyazaki the man who allegedly bribed Moriya in September 2006 after quitting rival trading house Yamada Corp. over a dispute with management. Miyazaki, a former Yamada executive, was arrested in early November 2007 on suspicion of embezzling funds from Yamada.

Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE: CW) announced March 27, 2008 that it had received a Japan Ministry of Defense contract, through Mitsubishi Corporation, for the supply of a RAST Mark VI system to be integrated on-board the new Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 19DD destroyer platform. Work for this contract will be performed by Curtiss-Wright's Motion Control segment in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, with deliveries scheduled to begin in late 2009.

The 19DD RAST Mark VI is a hybrid system that builds on the well- established capabilities of the original RAST system, currently in operation with the Japanese, Canadian, U.S., Australian, Spanish and Taiwanese Navies. It incorporates selected features and capabilities from the more advanced Aircraft Ship Integrated Secure and Traverse (ASIST) system also produced by Curtiss-Wright. The resulting hybrid system provides improved capabilities and functionality with reduced size and weight relative to earlier RAST systems. Curtiss-Wright's technology for ship-borne aircraft handling systems (AHS), underwater sensor handling systems and specialized structures has been integral to advanced naval platforms since the early 1960s.

One of the important roles of the "Akizuki" model is to enable Aegis ship to focus purely on its duties in looking out for and responding to ballistic missiles, which it does by protecting the Aegis ship from aircraft, etc. Therefore, since stronger air defense ability is required, they feature improved ability to simultaneously conduct wide area searches and pursuits while processing target information.

Escort vessels are often named after weather, climate, mountains, rivers, and areas. A Christening and launching ceremony for the FY 2007 escort vessel "Akizuki" was held on October 13th, 2008, at the Nagasaki Shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. This FY 2007 escort vessel is a No. 1 5,000-ton type from the FY 2007 plan, and suggestions were taken from JMSDF units continuing along the lines of names of weather/climate. "Akizuki" is a customary name for the former Navy Air Defense Destroyer No. 1, as well as being use for the flagship of the JMSDF's Escort Fleet. This name was selected for its high level of popularity, and this was approved by the Minister of Defense.

Christening and launching ceremony for the FY 2008 escort vessel "Teruzuki" was held on September 15th, 2011, at the Nagasaki Shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. This ship is a No. 2 5,000-ton type from the FY 2008 plan, and suggestions were taken from JMSDF units continuing along the lines of names of weather/climate. "Teruzuki" is a customary name for the former Navy Air Defense Destroyer No. 2, as well as being use for the flagship of the JMSDF's Escort Fleet. This name was selected for its high level of popularity, and this was approved by the Minister of Defense.

A christening and launching ceremony for the FY 2009 escort vessel "Fuyuzuki" was held on August 22nd, 2012, at the Tamano Plant of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. Scheduled commissioning is around March 2014. This ship is a No. 4 "Akizuki" type from the FY 2009 plan, and suggestions were taken from JMSDF units continuing along the lines of names of weather/climate. "Fuyuzuki" is a term that evokes memories of the winter air at the end of World War Two, after the former Navy Air Defense Destroyer No. 8 known as Battleship Yamato safely returned to base following its participation in the Operation "Tenichigou" in April 1945. The "Fuyuzuki" selected for a No. 4 "Akizuki" type vessel, and this was approved by the Minister of Defense.

Fuyuduki was the last of her class - the next will be a simplified version said to have only half the VLS capacity(16 cells) geared towards ASuW and ASW. The FY2013 budget funded one new class of destroyer, which has better fuel efficiency and ability to detect targets in the water. The 5000t DD will be equipped with Mk.41 VLS - 16 cells - , 2 quadpack SSM launchers loaded with type 90 SSM, 2 tripack torpedo launchers loaded with type 12 short torpedoes and 1 5-inch cannon. It looks as if she is not equipped with a Phalanx type CIWS and relies on ESSM as coverage. Her power train will be a COGLAG to reduce life cycle cost and probably reduce noise to make it a better sub hunter. The next 5000t DD are/will be suited with a new OQQ-22 integrated sonar suite sub-system (hull-sonar and OQR-3 towed array; - a Japanese equivalent of the American AN/SQQ-89), and the NOLQ-3D digitalized EW suite sub-system. These sub-systems communicate across a NOYQ-1B wide area network. In totality these systems are comparable to those of the Zumwalt class destroyer.




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