Surface Forces: Pre-Dawn Madness


February 21, 2008: The Japanese media jumped all over the Japanese Navy recently, when a 7,700 ton Aegis destroyer collided with a 37 foot long fishing boat at four in the morning. The sea was calm, and the media was alarmed that the Aegis radar could not spot a fishing boat. Pundits quickly pointed out that Aegis is an air defense radar, and not much good at spotting surface targets (although it can do that.) Destroyers have navigational radar, which should have spotted a fishing boat of that size, especially in calm seas. The cause of the accident is more likely someone on the destroyer bridge not being alert. That tends to happen at 4 AM, especially in a new ship (the Atago entered service a year ago) with a new crew. Someone on the bridge did spot the fishing boat, but only about 60 seconds before the collision. Critics were all over the navy about how terrorists could use this lack of attention to sneak up on Japanese warships.

This is the first collision of a Japanese warship in twenty years. The last one involved a submarine colliding with a fishing boat in broad daylight, in Tokyo Bay, killing 30 civilians. The latest collision apparently killed the two men running the fishing boat, which was about 40 kilometers off the coast.


Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close