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Japan launches ninth Mogami-class frigate

Natori , the ninth Mogami-class frigate on order for the JMSDF, is seen here at its launch ceremony on 24 June 2024. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)

Japanese shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has launched the ninth Mogami-class guided-missile frigate on order for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

The frigate, which will be in service as JS Natori once it is commissioned, was launched at MHI's facilities in Nagasaki on 24 June, the JMSDF announced on the same day.

Natori is one of 12 Mogami-class frigates that have been planned for the JMSDF. The new warships will replace the JMSDF's fleet of Abukuma-class frigates that have been in service since the late 1980s and early 1990s.

First-of-class JS Mogami was commissioned in April 2022, while the second frigate, JS Kumano, was inducted in March 2022 ahead of the lead frigate.

The Mogami class displaces about 5,500 tonnes at full load, and it has an overall length of 132 m with an overall beam of 16 m.

Each warship has been designed for a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion configuration comprising two MAN 12V28/33D STC diesel engines and one Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine engine. It has a top speed of 30 kt and a crew complement of 90.

The class is armed with a BAE Systems 127 mm naval gun in the primary position. It is also equipped with a vertical launching system (VLS) for the Type 03 medium-range surface-to-air missile and two quad launchers for anti-ship missiles.

Besides the JMSDF's existing arsenal of anti-ship missiles, Japan also has plans to arm the Mogami-class frigates with a naval variant of the Type 12 missile to improve the class's long-range strike capabilities.

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