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DSEI Japan 2023: Japan to take delivery of OZZ-5 mine-countermeasures UUV

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force is expected to operate the OZZ-5 MCM UUV in Japan's disputed southern islands. (Janes/Jon Grevatt)

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is set to deliver its first OZZ-5 mine-countermeasures (MCM) unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

Company officials told Janes at the DSEI Japan 2023 exhibition in Chiba that the first of five on-order OZZ-5 systems will be supplied to the JMSDF by the end of March. The initial five OZZ-5s are all expected to be delivered by the end of 2024.

MHI officials said the JMSDF will operate unmanned surface vessels (USVs) – also built by MHI – that deploy from the service's Mogami-class frigates. Janes understands that the OZZ-5 will be operated by the JMSDF around Japan's disputed southern islands.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) initiated a project to develop an MCM UUV in the late 2000s, leading to MHI's development of the OZZ-5 in 2017. MHI said the development programme was completed in 2021.

Since then, MHI has collaborated on the programme with Thales, which has integrated its SAMDIS high-resolution synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) onto the OZZ-5. SAMDIS is a high-frequency, high-resolution SAS payload designed specifically to perform detection, classification, and localisation of mine threats.

The SAMDIS integration programme is supported by a Japan-France defence technology agreement signed in 2018.

In fiscal year (FY) 2022, Japan's MoD allocated JPY1.2 billion (USD9 million) for the procurement of the OZZ-5. In FY 2023, the procurement project received JPY4.5 billion, indicating that additional OZZ-5 units will be procured. MHI has not elaborated on the scope of future supplies to the JMSDF.

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