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Japan commissions third Mogami-class frigate in 10 months

JS Noshiro commissioning
Photo: MHI

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) has commissioned its third Mogami-class frigate JS Noshiro at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’s Nagasaki Shipyard.

The commissioning of the third ship in the class comes just 10 months after the first unit, JS Kumano, was commissioned in March this year. The second entry into service for the fast-paced multi-mission frigate program came two months later, with the commissioning of JS Mogami.

JS Noshiro entered service after being launched in June 2021, some four years after Japan’s Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) as prime contractor and Mitsui as subcontractor for the 30DX (later designated as 30FFM) program in 2017.

Photo: MHI

MHI took over Mitsui’s warship building business in March 2021, remaining the only contractor on the program.

The Mogami-class is a new generation of JMSDF frigates, displacing over 5,000 tons at full load and combining compactness with manpower saving measures. The ships of the class are envisioned as frigate-sized vessels with destroyer capabilities.

The 133-meter vessels will be crewed by some 100 sailors, a notable decrease compared to conventional and Aegis destroyers. The frigates will be replacing the Asagiri- and Abukuma-class destroyers.

They will be powered by Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines and MAN diesel engines, propelling to speeds of over 30 knots. When it comes to armaments, the ships 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.

What is more, the frigate-class will be the first JMSDF asset to serve as a “mother ship” for unmanned underwater and unmanned surface vehicles (UUV and USV). The frigates will employ the unmanned capability for mine countermeasures operations.

Japan plans to build up to 22 ships in the class.