The modern Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has, in total, thirty-six warships (as of December 2017) dedicated to the role of "destroyer". One of the classes involved is the Hatakaze-class which numbers two and is led by JS Hatakaze (DDG-171) with her sister being JS Shimakaze (DDG-172). Both are built to a 5,800 tonne standard. JS Shimakaze, the focus of this article, was laid down on January 13th, 1985 and launched on January 30th, 1987. It was commissioned for service in the JMSDF on March 23rd, 1988 and makes her homeport out of Maizuru, Japan.
The Shimakaze has a displacement of 4,675 tons under standard load and up to 6,100 tons under full load. Dimensions include a length of 492.1 feet with a beam of 53.9 feet and a draught of 15.8 feet. Aboard are 260 personnel. A single Mitsubishi (Sikorsky) SH-60 helicopter is supported from the stern flight deck. This rotary-wing platform is outfitted with modern Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) equipment and also serves as an over-the-horizon reconnaissance component.
The ship's profile features an elevated forecastle and raised section just aft of the bow turret emplacement. The bridge is attached to the central, primary superstructure which is capped by a lattice mastwork containing sensors, radar, comms and various other needed systems (including the SPS-52C air-search radar. After the main mast is a break in the superstructure with the low-profile smoke funnels seated near midships. Aft of these structures is the aft-superstructure which carries on it a shorter mast and its OPS-11C series air-search radar fit. A second turret is fitted facing the stern. The helicopter flight deck is seated directly over the stern section.
Propulsion power is from 2 x Kawasaki (Rolls-Royce) Spey SM1A gas turbines and 2 x Rolls-Royce Olympus gas turbines developing upwards of 72,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts. This is an arrangement known as COGAG (COmbined Gas And Gas) which allows the vessel to switch between each engine pairing to promote the best efficiency of power and fuel consumption. As such the Spey engines are generally used for cruising actions and the Olympus engines for high-speed dashing actions. The warship can make headway at 30 knots in ideal conditions. The Hatakaze-class was the first JMSDF warship to feature an all-gas turbine propulsion scheme.
The Shimakaze is classified as a guided-missile destroyer (DDG) which implies an armament suite led by missile armament. The armament suite is a mix of missile- and projectile-based weaponry that includes 2 x 5" /54 caliber Mark 42 series turreted deck guns and this is supported by an RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile launcher installation. The warship also carries an ASROC (Anti-Submarine ROCket) launching system and a pair of 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs).To round out its offensive capabilities are 2 x Type 68 triple torpedo tubes.