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Atago class

Anti-air warfare destroyer

Atago class

The Japan's Atago class anti-air warfare destroyers are one of the most capable ships in their class

 
 
Country of origin Japan
Entered service 2007
Crew 300 men
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 167 m
Beam 21 m
Draught 6.2 m
Displacement, standard 7 700 tons
Displacement, full load over 10 000 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 30 knots
Range ?
Propulsion COGLAG propulsion with 4 gas turbines, developing 100 000 shp combined.
Airwing
Helicopters 1 x SH-60K
Armament
Artillery 1 x 127 mm DP gun, 2 x 20 mm Phalanx  CIWS
Missiles 96-cell VLS with SM-2MR SAM missiles, SM-3 anti-ballistic missiles and RUM-139 ASROC anti-submarine rockets, 8 x Type 90 (SSM-1B) anti-ship missiles
Torpedoes 2 x triple torpedo launchers for Mk.46 Mod.5 Neartip or Type 73 torpedoes

 

   The Atago class are large Japan's destroyers with strong anti-air warfare capability. This class is a scaled-up and improved version of the Kongou class (a Japanese version of the US Arleigh Burke class). In terms of size and displacement the Atago class ships are nearly as large as Ticonderoga class cruisers. Some improvements were made to reduce radar cross-section of these ships. Two Atago class ships were ordered in the year 2000. These vessels were commissioned with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during 2007-2008 and replaced the previous Tachikaze class anti-air warfare destroyers. New warships provides an air defense capability several orders of magnitude greater than that offered by the Tachikaze class. Two more Atago class warships are being constructed and will become operational in 2020-2021.

   The Atago class warships carry Aegis world-class air defense system. It integrates a mix of Japanese- and American-made systems, including weapons, radar and fire control into one highly efficient system, capable of controlling a fleet battle above and below the surface. Furthermore the Aegis system used on Atago class ships is more capable than that, used on the previous Kongou class.

   The Atago class warships with their sophisticated long-range air defense capability provide air coverage for the fleet. These can even engage ballistic missiles. There is a 96-cell Mk.41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) with 64 cells in the forward area and 32 cells in the stern area. These are packed with a mix of SM-2MR Standard missiles, SM-3 anti-ballistic missiles and RUM-139 ASROC anti-submarine missiles.

   The same VLS could also pack Tomahawk anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles. However in line with Japan's post-war constitution the Atago class does not carry Tomahawk missiles. Instead anti-ship capability is provided by less capable Type 90 (SSM-1B) anti-ship missiles. These anti-ship missiles have a range of 150 km and carry a 225 kg warhead. In concept these are similar to the US Harpoon, though it looks like these Japanese missiles are more advanced than the Harpoons. The JMSDF actually replaces Harpoon missiles on its ships by the indigenous Type 90. The Atago class can carry up to 8 of these missiles on two quadruple launchers.

   The Atago class has a 127 mm dual-purpose gun in a stealth-shaped mount. It is a license-produced version of the US Mk.45 gun. Though the gun is the same as on the previous Kongou class, its barrel has extended from 54 calibers to 62 calibers. Now the gun can handle strengthened powder charges and has a maximum range of 38 km. This gun can engage hostile ships, air targets, and bombard land targets.

   Last ditch defense against incoming anti-ship missiles is provided by two 20 mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS). One of them is located in the forward area, while another one is in the stern area.

   For anti-submarine warfare there are 2 triple-tuble torpedo launchers for Mk.46 Mod.5 Neartip, or Japanese Type 73 torpedoes.

   The Atago class warships have better helicopter handing facilities than the previous Kongou class and the older ships of the US Arleigh Burke class. These only have a helicopter platforms with no support equipment. The Atago class ships have a hangar for a single SH-60K helicopter. Though most other modern warships of this size and displacement can accommodate two helicopters.

   These warships are operated by a crew of 300 sailors, including the aircrew, and can function as fleet command centers.

   These ships have an advanced Combined Gas-Electric and Gas (COGLAG) propulsion system. The power is delivered by 4 Harima/General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, that generate a combined output of 100 000 shp. The power is delivered to two shafts. This hybrid gas-electric propulsion is best for quiet anti-submarine operations. At low speeds propulsion is provided by electric motors. For normal and high speed operations gas turbines are used. Maximum speed is 30 knots (56 km/h).

   In 2015 construction of two more Atago class ships began. These are planned to be commissioned in 2020 and 2021. These ships are built to an improved standard and have a larger hull. Furthermore these will carry improved Aegis combat system. Some improvements were made to propulsion system.

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Atago (177) 2004 2005 2007

active, in service

Ashigara (178) 2005 2006 2008

active, in service

? ? ? expected in 2020

under construction

? ? ? expected in 2021

under construction

 

 
Atago class

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Atago class

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Atago class

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Atago class

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Atago class

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Atago class

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Atago class

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Atago class and Arleigh Burke class

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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