Another destroyer equipped with the Aegis air-defense system will probably be dispatched to the Indian Ocean to replace the one currently operating there, Defense Agency officials said Thursday.
The 7,250-ton Kongo is likely to be sent to replace the Kirishima, which was dispatched in December as part of Japan’s efforts to provide logistic support for the U.S.-led war against terrorism, the officials said.
The Kongo could depart from Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, as early as Tuesday, accompanying the 8,150-ton fleet support ship Hamana, the officials said.
The Defense Agency had considered sending a conventional destroyer, to keep as many operational Aegis ships as possible near Japan in light of the possibility of North Korea launching a ballistic missile.
However, the agency apparently decided to send the Aegis-equipped ship to focus on providing support to the antiterrorism operation due to the escalation of war in Iraq.