The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its second of three Awaji-class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) in a ceremony held on 16 March in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Named JS Hirado (with pennant number 305), the 67 m-long vessel was inducted into the service’s 1st Mine Warfare Force – based in Yokosuka – shortly after being handed over by shipbuilder Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) at the company’s facility in Yokohama, according to a JMSDF statement.
Hirado was launched in February 2017 and began sea trials in September 2017. The first vessel of the class, JS Awaji , was commissioned in March 2017, while the third one is expected to enter service in 2021.
According to Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Awaji class has a crew complement of 60, a standard displacement of 690 tonnes, a beam of 11 m, and a draught of 5.2 m. Each of the vessels in service is powered by two diesel engines of 2,200 hp each and has a stated top speed of 14 kt.
The hull of these platforms has been constructed from a composite fibre-reinforced plastic material to reduce weight as well as the magnetic signature of the platforms during minesweeping operations. The material is also highly corrosion-resistant, according to the JMSDF.
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