The government will start building two Aegis-equipped destroyers with the latest missile defense systems starting next fiscal year, in light of the progress seen in missile development by North Korea, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The Defense Ministry will include related expenses in its budgetary requests, informed sources said. The government will start building one destroyer in the next fiscal year and the other in fiscal 2016, aiming at reinforcing the defense system by increasing Aegis-equipped vessels from the current six to eight in fiscal 2020, sources said.
The government had unveiled its policy of introducing two more Aegis-equipped destroyers within 10 years in the National Defense Program Guidelines, adopted by the Cabinet late last year.
Earlier this year, North Korea continually test-fired what were believed to be short- and mid-range missiles.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera recently said, “While the deployment of missiles in readiness for battle proceeds (in North Korea), the country is carrying out exercises to further improve the capability (of its missile system),” leading the government to conclude that the number of Aegis-equipped destroyers should be increased as soon as possible.