Atago-class destroyer

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Ashigara (DDG-178) in Hawaii
Ashigara (DDG-178)
Class overview
Name: Atago class
Builders: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Operators:  Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Preceded by: Kongō class
  • ¥140 billion[1]
  • $1.48 billion (constant 2009 USD)
Built: 2004–2008
In commission: 2007–
Completed: 2
Active: 2
General characteristics
Type: Guided missile destroyer
  • 7,700 tons standard
  • 10,000+ tons full load
Length: 165 m (541 ft 4 in)[2]
Beam: 21 m (68 ft 11 in)
Draft: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
1 Rigid hull inflatable boat
Complement: 300
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: 1 × SH-60K helicopter
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for one helicopter

The Atago class of guided missile destroyers (あたご型護衛艦|atago-gata-go-ei-kan?) is an improved version of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)'s Kongō class.


JDS Kongō with Ashigara while under construction at Mitsubishi in Nagasaki.

In 2000, the Japan Defense Agency Maritime Staff Office included another two Aegis ships in its five-year budget on top of the four Kongō-class destroyers originally ordered.

The Atago class is fundamentally an improved and scaled up version of Kongō-class destroyers. The class features large accommodation and the ships are capable of flexible operation. One of the most obvious changes is an additional hangar to carry one SH-60K helicopter. In comparison to the Kongō class/Arleigh Burke class (Flight I) which only had helicopter platforms (but no support equipment), these ships have better helicopter handling facilities. To enhance the Atago class' function as command centers, the bridge is two decks higher than aboard a Arleigh Burke class Flight IIA, making their full load displacement over 10,000 tons—the first time for a JMSDF surface combat vessel. The gun caliber has extended from the 54 caliber of the Kongō class to the 62 caliber with strengthened powder charge capable 38 km firing range. As with other Japanese ships being refit, the American-made Harpoon missiles (such as in the initial configuration of the Kongō class) have been replaced with the Japanese-made Type 90 (SSM-1B) surface-to-surface guided missiles.

Japan has also purchased a manufacturing license for these weapons for use on their Kongō-class Aegis destroyers. Japan Steel Works will manufacture, assemble and test the weapons.

The fire-control system for the Atago class is the Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7 phase 1, which will combine American- and Japanese-manufactured systems to make up the complete Aegis system. The Aegis Weapon System baseline 7 has improved tracking accuracy for vertical targets, and an acquisition capability for small low-altitude targets compared with the Aegis Weapon System baseline 4 and 5, used in Kongō class. The Atagos also use a new stealthier plain-structure mast, which was originally designed in Japan, rather than familiar lattice type mast. A new modified smokestack and other improvements were also introduced to make the Atagos stealthier.

Like the Kongō class, the Atago-class destroyers are equipped with a comprehensive suite of weapon systems including:

In keeping with Japan's post-war pacifist constitution, the Atago class does not currently carry the Tomahawk missile (although, in theory at least, use of an anti-ship version is permissible). While the two ships of Atago class are entering service, the Tachikaze-class destroyers, Tachikaze and Asakaze are to be decommissioned.

In 2015, Japan formally began the construction of two new Atago ships of the improved 27DD subclass. The hull is enlarged for an empty displacement of 8,200 tons to allow for growth space for advanced weapon systems. The COGLAG propulsion system received several improvements to the ships' space, power management and distribution. New weapons are to be incorporated such as anti-ship missiles, and in-development indigenous point-defense lasers and electromagnetic railgun systems. Other improvements include the AN/SPQ-9B surface search radar, a multi-static sonar system, and an enhanced Aegis combat system with better Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). The two 27DD vessels are expected to be commissioned in 2020 and 2021.[3]

Ships in the class[edit]

Building No. Pennant No. Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Home port
2317 DDG-177 Atago 5 April 2004 24 August 2005 15 March 2007 Maizuru
2318 DDG-178 Ashigara 6 April 2005 30 August 2006 13 March 2008 Sasebo


External links[edit]