WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has approved the likely sale to Japan of two Lockheed Martin Corp Aegis combat systems valued at $1.5 billion, a deal aimed at boosting Japan’s defenses against a ballistic missile attack, the U.S. Defense Department said Friday.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees foreign arms sales, said the Aegis combat systems and associated equipment would be installed on two new Japanese guided missile destroyers, or DDGs, expanding Japan’s ability to carry out joint military missions with the U.S. Navy.
“The addition of two new Aegis DDGs to Japan’s fleet will afford more flexibility and capability to counter regional threats and continue to enhance stability in the region,” DSCA said in a notification to U.S. lawmakers that was dated Aug. 4, and released today.
The proposed sale, which is likely to be approved by Congress, will complete Japan’s goal of acquiring eight ships capable of ballistic missile defense, DSCA said.
The agency said the proposed sale underscored Washington’s commitment to help Japan develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.
Lockheed would be the primary contractor for the Aegis weapons system, which integrate radars, computers, software, displays, weapons launchers and weapons to defend against a range of surface, aerial and underwater threats.
DSCA said Japanese industry had asked to work with U.S. industry as sub-contractors for selected components and software, including sonar systems to be built by NEC Corp, Aegis display software by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and display hardware to be built by Fujitsu.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrew Hay