From the period spanning 1972 to 2009, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) - serving as the Japanese Navy - utilized the two-strong Haruna-class of destroyer led by JDS Haruna (DDH-141) and closing with JDS Hiei (DDH-142). Haruna was laid down on March 19th, 1970, launched in December of 1971 and commissioned on March 22nd, 1973. The vessel was decommissioned after 36 years of faithful service on March 18th, 2009 and both Haruna-class destroyers have been out of service since 2011.
The destroyer was a turn-of-the-century (20th Century) naval development which saw a rise in torpedo boats used to target larger ships (as observed in the Sino-Japanese War, 1894). As such, the "Torpedo Boat Destroyer" was brought about as a counter and, over time, the "torpedo boat" portion of the designation fell to disuse leaving only the descriptor of "destroyer". The modern naval destroyer is a fast and agile steel warship with a "multi-mission" approach coupling offensive and defensive capabilities into one relatively compact profile. Destroyers are "blue water" vessels that can operate independently of the main fleet or serve in support of - typically smaller in design than their larger cruiser sisters though larger than the competing frigates.
Haruna displaced at 5,030 tons under standard load and upwards of 7,000 tons under full load. She was given a length of 502 feet, a beam measuring 57 feet, 5 inches and a draught of 17 feet. The vessel carried a conventional profile with an upward sloping bow and unobstructed stern deck. The superstructure was concentrated at the middle of the design in the usual way. Ahead of her superstructure lay a pair of traversable deck turrets situated in tandem along the forecastle. Between the aft-most forecastle gun turret and superstructure lay the primary missile weapon on a traversable mounting platform. The bridge and all pertinent communications/fire control/sensor equipment lay along the superstructure design and included a tripod main mast assembly and integrated smoke funnel. An aviation hangar was installed at the aft portion of the superstructure to service and repair naval helicopters while the design was completed with an unobstructed flight deck over the stern to facilitate incoming/outgoing aircraft. Her entire crew complement numbered 360 personnel including 36 officers.
Haruna was conventionally powered through a traditional boiler/turbine arrangement. There were 2 x boilers with 2 x turbines which drove 2 x shafts at an output of 60,000 horsepower allowing the vessel to make headway at 31 knots.
As a destroyer, Haruna showcased a combination of armament installations. This weapon arrangement was led by the Mk 29 "Sea Sparrow" (Type 3A) surface-to-air missile launcher which featured an eight-shot functionality (8-cell design) and intended for use against incoming aircraft. An RUR-5 ASROC (Anti-Submarine ROCket) launcher was installed through an eight-shot launcher mounted over the helicopter hanger. The deck turrets housed 2 x FMC 5" /54 caliber Mark 42 series rapid-fire naval guns. Close-in defense was handled by 2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). The Haruna also carried anti-ship/anti-submarine prowess through 2 x Mark 32 triple-tube torpedo launchers cleared for the Mark 46 torpedo. Its helicopter stable came into play for Anti-Ship (AS)/Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sorties as well as Over-The-Horizon (OTH) reconnaissance and Search & Rescue (SAR). Supported helicopter types included three Sikorsky SH-60J(K) ASW naval helicopters.
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