Evolving threats and missions are driving Japan’s newest general-purpose destroyer to gain an expanded air-defense capability and become as large as old escort flotilla flagships. The Akizuki, launched on Oct. 13 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Nagasaki yard, is the first of four 19DD-class (Fiscal 2007-class) destroyers that will enter service in 2012-14. The 6,800-ton Akizuki follows the design of the five 6,300-ton Takanami-class ships built in 2003-06 and nine 6,200-ton ...

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