Theresa May is sending a Royal Navy warship to take part in military exercises with Japan next year.
It is understood to be the first time that non-US armed forces have trained alongside Japan’s military on their home soil.
Britain will also send cyber security experts to help Japan to prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Prime Minister May made the announcement before attending a meeting of Japan’s national security council, an invitation intended to symbolise the two countries’ deepening co-operation.
The Prime Minister also discussed deepening defence ties:
“As two outward-facing countries with many shared priorities and shared challenges, Japan remains a natural partner for us on defence and security issues.
I am determined that our defence and security co-operation will continue to go from strength to strength, enhancing our collective response to threats to the international order and to global peace and security, through increased co-operation on defence, cyber security, and counter-terrorism.
“And that must include confronting the threat that North Korea poses and ensuring the regime stops its aggressive acts.”
In 2015, Argyll entered extended refit in Devonport; she returned to sea in February 2017 with a new principal weapon system, Sea Ceptor, and numerous modifications and alterations to her accommodation and working spaces.
Argyll is set to become the trials vessel for Sea Ceptor prior to resuming operational duties.
The most noticeable item that the ship is equipped with is the BAE Mark VIII 4.5” Naval Gun. It is essentially identical to that operated by the Type 42 and 45 destroyers. Between 2005 and 2012, the 13 remaining ships all had their guns upgraded to the Mod 1 standard by Babcock Marine, noticeable for its stealthy design. The ships are also currently having their DS30B 30mm guns replaced by the newer DS30M, designed for close-in defence against fast moving attack craft.
The anti-air warfare is provided by a 32-cell VLS system designed for the Sea Wolf missile system. The original Sea Wolf (of Fort Victoria intention) was in a non-VLS launch design, which was problematic due to the issue of the hull of the ship getting in the way of the missile launch (another problem identified in the Falklands).
With a VLS (a new innovation for the 80’s and famed for it’s key role in such famous designs as Arleigh Burke), the missiles could clear the hull of the ship before igniting, vastly improving the anti-capability over the originally planned conventionally launched missiles. Considering that the ship was intended to have no anti-air capability at all, that is rather impressive! Currently, the Sea Wolf missiles are being replaced by the newer Sea Ceptor CAMM design, notable for the fact that four missiles can fit into one Sea Wolf VLS tube. This gives Type 23 excellent self-defence AA coverage.