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Japan to arm new carrier with RAM air defense system

Japan to arm new carrier with RAM air defense system 08.09.2011
Photo: SeaRAM Mk 15 Mod 31. navaltoday.com
Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to realize a plan implying that the new Project 22DDH helicopter carrier would become the first non-American ship armed with SeaRAM Mk 15 Mod 31 air defense system made by Raytheon, reported Jane's Defense Weekly.

The SAM system contains 11-missile launcher for RIM-116 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) which was purchased for Japan's largest warship with displacement of about 24,000 tons and length of 248 meters.

Procurement of SeaRAM system is a supplement to the $161-mln contract tied between Raytheon and US Navy for 6-barreled Phalanx CIWS.

Alterations to the Phalanx contract also include SeaRAM air defense systems for new US Navy's littoral combat ships built by Austal Ц USS Jackson (LCS-6) and USS Montgomery (LCS-8).

First ship of that class, USS Independence (LCS-2), was commissioned in Jan 2010 and became the first platform for ship-based point defense SAM system.

SeaRAM system uses 11-tube launcher placed instead of 20-mm rotating gun which is a standard weapon of Phalanx system.

It also has J-band digital search radar, pulse/Doppler tracking radar, and optoelectronic sensor of Phalanx system.

Japan plans to build two Project 22DDH helicopter carriers; each will carry 9 deck-based helicopters. IHI Marine United Inc. shipyard is about to lay down keel for the first carrier in 2012. The ship will cost almost $1.04 bln.

The new ship will be considerably larger than Hyuga class heli-carriers, DDH-181 Hyuga and DDH-182 Ise, which were commissioned in March 2009 and March 2011 respectively. Despite the full deck, both ships are officially classified in Japan as 'helicopter-carrying destroyers'.

Project 22DDH are expected to replace two Shirane-class destroyers built in 70's.

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