DDG-177 Atago (DDG 7,700 ton) Class
Planning by the Japan Defense Agency Maritime Staff Office included two additional Aegis ships in the 2000 five-year budget. At least two Improved Kongo-class DDGs were planned, with displacement of 7,700 tons standard to 10,000 tons full load. The first of these, the Atago, was commissioned on 15 March 2007. The new class of Guided Missile Destroyer will be equipped with the latest version of Aegis system and will have a hanger that is capable ot storing 2 helicopters. Construction will start as soon as 2002. Currently there is the possibility that at least four more Kongo Class DDG will be constructed, these four will be able to house at least one SH-60J ASW helicopter, much like the USN Burke Flight IIA's.
The US Navy's Program Executive Officer-Theatre Surface Combatants (PEO TSC) has played an integral part in Japan's shipbuilding program. The JMSDF, with support from PEO TSC, is in the process of identifying the combat systems and configuration for use in the DDG-2317 Aegis ship construction effort. The proposed baseline for DDG-2317 is Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7 phase 1 and includes a combination of U.S. and Japanese manufactured systems to make up the total Aegis system. Japanese industry participation was expected to be more prevalent in DDG-2317 and subsequent construction programs. The Japan Defense Agency, Maritime Staff Office, has advocated Japanese industrial participation as its most important initiative toward improving operational readiness and expanding the country's technical infrastructure. The JMSDF, Japanese shipbuilders, and Japanese manufacturers have gained considerable knowledge about integration and testing of complex weapon systems by working with the Aegis program.
The new Aegis programs will present a significant challenge to JMSDF, as well as Navy IPO and PEO TSC, necessitating innovative management to coordinate and analyze critical timelines and ensure that FMS, direct commercial sales (DCS), and domestically manufactured materiel, were properly phased to meet DDG-2317 construction and commissioning milestones.
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