Kirishima (DDG-174) in 1998
|Builders:||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
|Preceded by:||Hatakaze class|
|Succeeded by:||Atago class|
|Built:||1990 - 1998|
|Type:||Kongō class guided missile destroyer|
|Displacement:||7,500 tons standard
9,500 tons full load
|Length:||528.2 ft (161 m)|
|Beam:||68.9 ft (21 m)|
|Draft:||20.3 ft (6.2 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 Ishikawajima Harima/General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines;
100,000 shaft horsepower (75 MW)
|Speed:||30 knots (56 km/h)|
|Range:||4,500 nautical miles at 20 knots
(8,334 km at 37 km/h)
|Armament:||• RGM-84 Harpoon SSM
• SM-2MR Standard SAM (29 cells at the bow, 61 cell at the aft)
• SM-3 Block IA ABM
• RUM-139 Vertical Launch ASROC
• 1 x 5 inch (127 mm) / 54 caliber Oto-Breda Compact Gun
• 2 x 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
• 2 x Type 68 triple torpedo tubes (6 x Mk-46 or Type 73 torpedoes)
|Aircraft carried:||Room for a helicopter to land on the rear deck, but no support equipment installed|
The Kongō class (こんごう型護衛艦 Kongō-gata Goeikan ) of guided missile destroyers serves as the core ship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)'s Escort Flotillas. They are a modification of the United States Navy's Arleigh Burke class (Flight I).
The Kongō class employs the highly advanced Aegis fire control system and is armed with the RIM-66 SM-2MR Block II surface-to-air missile, RUM-139 vertically launched anti-submarine rocket, the RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile, two Mark 15 20 mm CIWS gun mounts, two torpedo mounts in a triple tube configuration, and an Oto Melara 127 mm/54 caliber gun. Its Mark 41 vertical launch system can hold 90 missiles. However, in keeping with the defensive mission of the JMSDF and passive role of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in general, the Kongō-class lacks the Tomahawk missile.
As on other ships employing the Aegis system, the superstructure is dominated by the SPY-1's phased arrays, which eliminates the need for a traditional rotating antenna. The design of the superstructure also incorporates certain stealth features, designed to reduce radar cross section of the ship; however, as a consequence, the ship is considerably more top-heavy than a typical destroyer and requires a much deeper draft. As such, operations in a littoral (coastal) environment are limited. Overall, Kongō-class destroyers are much larger than traditional destroyers and at 9,485 tons displacement come close to cruisers in size. Because they are built to different operational requirements than the Arleigh Burke-class ships, such as for carrying extra equipment for commanding a squadron, the Kongō-class ships' internal arrangement is quite different from the original design on which they are based. Recognisable external features are the vertical mast and the sleek sides of the bridge.
The Kongō class vessels are being modified to serve in a theater missile defense role, with the primary intention of countering North Korean ballistic missiles. This purpose and a financial crisis made the Flight II variant of the Arleigh Burke class the choice for the follow-on class to the Tachikaze and Asakaze. The new destroyer was named Atago in 2005.
In December 2007, Japan conducted a successful test of the SM-3 block IA against a ballistic missile aboard JDS Kongō (DDG-173). This was the first time a Japanese ship was selected to launch the interceptor missile during a test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. In previous tests they provided tracking and communications. Afterward, Japan has also undertaken another two successful Ballistic Missile Defense test aboard JDS Myōkō in October 2009 and aboard JDS Kirishima in October 2010. While one test aboard JDS Chōkai in November 2008 was failed to intercept the target.
All Kongō-class destroyers take their names from Japan's mountains, the class name referring to Mount Kongō.
Two of the class are (apparently coincidentally) given the same names as previous Japanese Kongō-class capital ships, the lead ship being named similarly to the battlecruiser Kongō, and the next ship similarly to the Kirishima. Both ships were sunk during World War II.
Ships in the class
|Building no.||Pennant no.||Name||Laid down||Launched||Commissioned||Home port|
|2313||DDG-173||Kongō||8 May 1990||26 September 1991||25 March 1993||Sasebo|
|2314||DDG-174||Kirishima||7 April 1992||19 August 1993||16 March 1995||Yokosuka|
|2315||DDG-175||Myōkō||8 April 1993||5 October 1994||14 March 1996||Maizuru|
|2316||DDG-176||Chōkai||29 May 1995||27 August 1996||20 March 1998||Sasebo|
The Kongō class in popular culture
The Kongo class has been featured in several works of fiction. In the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, it appears in the 7th chapter, when the 02 unit coming from Germany arrives to Japan, facing the attack of the 7th Angel (Gaghiel), when they're transporting the unit to the Japanese complex of NERV (also seen is the Arleigh Burke class DDG-61). In the alternate history series Zipang, a Kongo-class destroyer called the DDG-182 みらい (Mirai) is involved in a time slip that sends the ship and the crew back in time to the Battle of Midway.
The JMSDF allowed the producers of the Japanese movie 亡国のイージス ("Boukoku no Aegis") to shoot aboard the DDG-175 Myōkō, which stood in as the film's Aegis destroyer, called the いそかぜ (Isokaze). The DDG-175 hull number was retained for the movie. The ship would later appear in the 2012 movie Battleship. In the Tom Clancy novel Debt of Honor, the fictional lead ship of the line, the Mutsu, figured prominently in a Japanese plot to wrest the US Navy's control of the Western Pacific region.
The Ace Combat series of flight simulation video games used the Kongo class in several missions where the player faces naval forces.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kongou class destroyers.|
- GlobalSecurity.org; JMSDF DDG Kongo Class
- Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces page on Andrew Toppan's Haze Gray and Underway web site