Cruiser to bolster japan's missile defence shield

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2006, 12:00am

The most advanced anti-missile cruiser in the US navy will be stationed in Japan later this year, adding another spoke to the defensive umbrella covering Japan and the US military bases in the archipelago.

The decision to deploy the USS Shiloh was announced by Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Gary Roughead in Washington.

The 8,700-tonne Aegis cruiser will replace another anti-ballistic missile warship but offer improved defensive capabilities, the admiral said.

The Ticonderoga-class vessel, which took part in both Operation Desert Strike and Enduring Freedom, 'will have the most advanced ballistic missile defence capability on board', the admiral said.

With the help of the US, Japan is developing an anti-missile defence shield of its own, an upgraded version of the Standard Missile-3 interceptor weapon, and the Shiloh has been involved in recent test launches. Until the system is operational, Tokyo is relying on its ally to detect and destroy any incoming missiles.