TOKYO, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) on Thursday said it put into commission a new Aegis-equipped destroyer as it sets about bolstering its fleet.
Named "Maya," the destroyer is the newest member to join the fleet and also its most technically advanced, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
The destroyer has an upgraded anti-ballistic missile interceptor system, which is the result of a joint developmental collaboration between Japan and the United States, sources close to the matter said.
The new destroyer is capable of intercepting short-to-intermediate-range missiles using the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor, they added.
The vessel also has improved maneuvering capabilities and provides wider cover for intercepting missiles than its predecessors, the MSDF said.
The MSDF also explained the new destroyer is equipped with a "Cooperative Engagement Capability" system which can accurately determine the position of missiles and aircraft and share this information with other militaries.
The "Maya" was handed over by Japan Marine United Corp. to Japan's defense ministry at a ceremony in Yokohama close Tokyo.
The destroyer, to be deployed at the MSDF's base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, cost 172 billion yen (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) to build.
According to Japan's Defense Minister Taro Kono, the "Maya," weighing 8,200 tons and measuring 170 meters in length, will be the fleet's front-runner in terms of missile air defense capabilities.
"I expect the ship to lead our comprehensive missile air defense capabilities," Kono said of the country's seventh Aegis destroyer, while abroad the new missile intercepting vessel at the handover ceremony.
Japan plans to add an eighth Aegis-equipped destroyer, the "Haguro," to its fleet in March 2021, the defense ministry has said.