In a bid to improve Japan and South Korea’s integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) system, the two countries will install their latest destroyers with Aegis Baseline 9, Defense News reported Thursday.
Two Japanese Atago-class destroyers (27DD subclass) and three South Korean KDX-III Sejong-class destroyers will be installed with the Baseline 9 IAMD. Atago-class destroyers were first used in Japan in 1993 and in South Korea in 2008. The $490 million deal will have Lockheed Martin’s SPY-1 radar.
“When paired with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, it is capable of delivering missiles for every mission and threat environment in naval warfare,” Lockheed reportedly said.
According to Defense News, the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command will be managing the deal between Tokyo and Seoul. Work will be conducted in Moorestown, New Jersey, and Clearwater, Florida. The installation is likely to be completed by May 2022.
This comes as South Korea and the U.S. agree to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the East Asian nation amid growing nuclear ambitions of North Korea. Last month, Seoul announced it would examine the electromagnetic waves coming from the powerful radar used in THAAD following health concerns linked to the equipment.
“In the upcoming evaluation on the THAAD battery's environmental impact, we will conduct the same test again to ensure that the anti-missile system does not pose any major health risks to Seongju residents in a reasonable and subjective manner,” Moon Sang-gyun, a South Korean defense ministry spokesman, reportedly said.