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DSEI Japan 2019: More details emerge about Japan’s new multi-mission frigates

18 November 2019
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MHI displayed a scale model of its future multi-mission frigate concept at DSEI Japan 2019. Source: Kosuke Takahashi

More details have emerged about the new 3,900-tonne class of multi-mission frigates on order for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

Representatives of Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is expected to build six of the eight frigates planned for the service, told Jane’s at the 18–20 November DSEI Japan 2019 defence exhibition in Chiba that the new frigate class will be 132.5 m long, 16 m wide, and have a beam of 9 m and a standard displacement of 3,900 tonnes.

Powered by a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion system featuring two MAN 12V28/33D STC diesel engines and one Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine, the ships are expected to be capable of attaining a top speed of 30 kt.

Armament on the frigates, each of which will be capable of embarking one helicopter as well as unmanned surface and underwater vehicles, is expected to include the navalised version of the Type-03 (also known as the ‘Chū-SAM Kai’) medium-range, surface-to-air missile, a 5-inch (127 mm)/62-calibre gun, a vertical launch system, canister-launched anti-ship missiles, and a SeaRAM close-in weapon system.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) is expected to place orders for all eight multirole frigates by fiscal year (FY) 2021, with two ships set to be built every year in an arrangement that will see MHI and Mitsui alternate for the first time as lead and sub-contractors.

MHI, which in November 2018 was awarded a contract to build the first ship, is expected to construct six frigates of the class (with Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding [MES] as subcontractor), while MES will build the remaining two (with MHI as subcontractor).

Construction of the first two frigates is taking place at MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagasaki Prefecture and MES’s Tamano Shipyard in Okayama Prefecture. These first two ships will be launched in November 2020 and are expected to be commissioned in March 2022.

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