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Japan launches lead Mogami-class FFM frigate

Japan's lead FFM Mogami-class frigate JS Mogami launch
Photo: Japan Maritime Self Defence Force

Japanese shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) launched the lead ship of a new class of Japan Maritime Self Defense Force frigates at its Nagasaki shipyard on March 3.

The lead ship, after which the entire class of 22 planned multi-mission frigates will be named, bears the name Mogami, after a river in Yamagata prefecture which is said to be the “Mother’s River” because “it brings many blessings to people.”

While Mogami is the first ship in its class, it is not the first in its class to be launched.

In November 2020, shipbuilder Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding launched the JS Kumano at its Tamano Works yard. Both Mogami and Kumano are scheduled for delivery in 2022, with MHI as the prime contractor.

The new generation of JMSDF frigates displaces over 5,000 tons at full load and combines compactness with manpower saving measures. The ships of the class are envisioned as frigate-sized vessels with destroyer capabilities. They are expected to replace the Asagiri- and Abukuma-class destroyers.

With the manpower savings concept, JMSDF hopes to address its personnel shortage issues. The vessels will be crewed by some 100 sailors, a notable decrease compared to conventional and Aegis destroyers.

The frigates will be powered by Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines and MAN diesel engines, propelling to speeds of over 30 knots.

They are expected to carry vertical launch system cells, anti-ship missiles, and a SeaRAM short range missile system, in addition to a main gun and remote weapon stations.

Japan plans to build up 22 vessels in the class vessel at a unit price of about ¥48 billion (approx. $461M). Local reports from November last year said Japan was in talks with Indonesia regarding a potential export deal for up to eight ships in the class.