Japanese shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has reached a final agreement with Mitsui E&S Holdings Co. to take over the latter’s naval and governmental ships business.
The acquisition leaves Mitsubishi Heavy, Japan Marine United Corp. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. as the only builders of JMSDF vessels.
MHI and Japan Marine United Corp. are now the only builders of JMSDF destroyers, while MHI and Kawasaki Heavy are the sole builders of JMSDF submarines.
Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding, an operating company of Mitsui E&S Holdings, has strengths in the construction and repair of auxiliary ship, such as supply ships and oceanographic survey ships for Japan’s defense ministry, as well as governmental ships such as vessels for patrolling local fishing waters. In recent years the company has also been actively developing new technologies incorporated into autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) and autonomous surface vehicles (ASV).
MHI will function as an operating company, with operation of Mitsui’s Tamano Works to continue. Mitsui is currently building the new FFM frigates for Japan, and has recently delivered the third Hibiki-class ocean surveillance ship to the service.
Following reviews by the Fair Trade Commission and other authorities, MHI expects to complete the transfer of operations by October 2021.
Mine countermeasure technology development with France’s Thales
Coinciding with MHI’s take-over announcement, French defense technology company Thales disclosed the signing of a project arrangement for the second phase of a project to develop a dual frequency sonar demonstrator for mine countermeasures aboard an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
The project is being undertaken within the framework of the French-Japanese bilateral defense agreement.
The undertaking will couple the French company’s sonar processing know-how as well as its latest generation high frequency synthetic aperture sonar, SAMDIS, with MHI’s low frequency synthetic aperture sonar and the OZZ-5 AUV.
This agreement kicks off a 5-year project for design, development and integration of the dual frequency synthetic aperture sonar processing, and at sea experiments (in Japan & in France). This is the materialization of years of long cooperative efforts between the DGA, ATLA, Thales and MHI to jointly build a project that satisfies both French Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force requirements.