Shipbuilding major Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has hosted a naming and launching ceremony for the sixth Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) Mogami-class frigate.
Launched on December 21, Agano is named after the Agano River, which originates in Fukushima Prefecture and flows through Niigata Prefecture into Sea of Japan.
Agano will be handed over to the navy sometime in 2023, joining the three frigates already in service.
Agano’s launch follows the commissioning ceremony of JS Noshiro earlier this month, which became the third frigate in the class to enter service in just 10 months.
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.
Japan plans to build up to 22 ships in the class.