The JS ATAGO used an upgraded Aegis Combat System to test their Ballistic Missile Defence capability for the first time.
The JS ATAGO is now the most advanced warship in the Japanese fleet following this modernisation effort. The vessels Aegis Weapon System merges BMD into an Integrated Air and Missile Defence capability using commercial-off-the-shelf and open architecture technologies including the ‘Aegis Common Source Library’.
JS ATAGO is the first international ship to benefit from the CSL, which allows far greater interoperability across the fleet, reducing development training and sustainment costs.
“I commend the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force for their commitment to affordability and innovation,” said Mary Keifer, director, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis International programs, Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors.
“This baseline modernisation effort streamlined their lifetime support costs and provided a means to gain advanced BMD capability.”
Last year, North Korea fired an intermediate range ballistic missile eastwards over Japan and into the Pacific. This was described as the regimes most serious provocation amid high tensions over its banned weapons programmes.
North Korea launched a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile that passed over Hokkaido. The missile travelled 3,700 kilometres and reached a maximum height of 770 kilometres; this is the furthest any North Korean IRBM missile has ever travelled. Initial estimates suggest the Hwasong-12 would have a maximum range of between 3,700km and 6000km.
The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on the country over its ballistic missile and atomic weapons programmes.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called this test “a reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat.”