US, Japan to Jointly Develop Littoral Combat Ship


Amid escalating tensions between Japan and China, a 12.2 percent budget increase in China’s defense spending, and fears that budget cuts for the U.S. military could have a negative impact on the United States’ ability to “pivot” to Asia, U.S. and Japanese officials have announced plans to co-develop a new high-speed vessel capable of carrying helicopters.

Following a meeting between U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on March 4, the two governments announced that the Japanese Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense would hold studies for the joint development of the vessel under the bilateral Mutual Defense Assistance (MDA) agreement.

Although very little information has been released about the project, analysts contend that the trimaran would likely be a lighter variant of the U.S. Navy’s 3,000-tonne littoral combat ship (LCS), a platform designed primarily for missions in shallow coastal waters.


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