• Kyodo

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The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s newest destroyer was christened the Asahi and launched Wednesday at a shipyard in Nagasaki.

The new destroyer, which is to go into service in March 2018, is the first MSDF ship that uses a combined gas turbine engine and electric propulsion system for better fuel efficiency. It is also fitted with a new sonar system and enhanced anti-submarine capabilities.

Some 1,300 attendees, including senior vice defense minister Kenji Wakamiya, appeared at the launching ceremony.

The 5,100-ton vessel built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. measures 151 meters in length and 18.3 meters in maximum width, the MSDF said, adding the building cost of the ship was approximately ¥76 billion ($732 million).

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