Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $490m contract to install the Aegis ballistic missile defense system on on two Japanese Atago-class destroyers and three South Korea KDX-III destroyers as well as on a new U.S. Navy destroyer.
The ships will be equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, the latest evolution of the combat system.
This contract follows the successful Pacific Dragon 2016 joint-missile defence exercise in June in which Aegis destroyers from the three nations shared data while detecting and tracking a simulated missile threat.
Pacific Dragon is a trilateral Ballistic Missile Defense tracking event between the U.S. Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy. The biennial exercise focuses on improving tactical and technical coordination among its participants, including the detection, tracing and reporting of ballistic targets.
In Japan, the seventh and eighth Aegis ships will join the fleet. Aegis already equips four of Japan's Kongo-class destroyers and two Atago-class destroyers. The Self Defence Forces of Japan joined the Aegis family in 1993.
In the Republic of Korea, Aegis will join the next three KDX-III Sejong the Great Class destroyers, a multi-purpose destroyer with air and land defence and anti-submarine capabilities. Aegis is aboard three KDX-III destroyers: RoK Sejong the Great, RoK Yulgok Yi I and RoK Seoae Ryu Sungryong, which are the largest surface warfare ships to carry Aegis.
The Republic of Korea joined the international Aegis fleet in 2008, when the navy commissioned the first ship of the class, Sejong the Great.
The Aegis Combat System is used globally by six navies. In addition to the U.S., Japan, and the Republic of Korea, Aegis has been selected by Australia, Norway and Spain.