Amidst rising regional threats and global uncertainty, Japan unveils its plan to procure two advanced weapons systems to fortify its defense posture and ensure peace and stability.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has recently unveiled its plan to procure two Aegis System Equipped Vessels (ASEVs) as a replacement for the now-defunct land-based Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. These new sophisticated military assets will be equipped with advanced radar systems, missile launchers, and enhanced interception capabilities.

This article delves into the specifications and features of these vessels, the controversies surrounding their development, and the significance of their introduction to Japan’s maritime defense strategy.

What is ASEV?

According to the defense white paper, the ASEVs are naval ships fitted with advanced warfare technologies, including Lockheed Martin’s SPY-7 radar system, which was originally intended for the Aegis Ashore system. The version of the Aegis system on the ASEV, known as J7.B, has been modified to integrate the SPY-7 radar into Baseline 9 (BL9).

The configuration of the main armament on the ASEV is similar to Japan’s Maya-class Aegis-equipped destroyers, featuring an Mk-45 (Mod.4) 5-inch/62-caliber (127mm) main gun. However, the topside area above the bridge of the ASEV has drawn comparisons to Australia’s Hobart-class Aegis-equipped air warfare destroyers due to its Aegis radar arrays.