The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) held a commissioning ceremony for the third Awaji-class minesweeper JS Etajima on March 16.
The minesweeper entered service in a ceremony at the Yokohama shipyard where it was built by the Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU). It was launched in December 2019.
While Etajima is final of three planned ships in the class, the defense ministry requested funds for a fourth ship in the fiscal year 2020. The construction of the fourth ship is yet to be officially confirmed.
JMU launched the lead ship in the class, JS Awaji, in October 2015. JS Hirado, the second unit, was launched in February 2017.
The 67-meter ships are armed with a 20 mm cannon and are equipped with light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems capable of both day and night operations.
Powered by two 2,200 hp diesel engines, the ships have composite fiber-reinforced hulls and a top speed of 14 knots.