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IMDEX 2023: Japan deploys OZZ-5 MCM system on Mogami frigates

The JMSDF's second Mogami-class frigate, JS Kumano , seen here while it was at Changi Naval Base for IMDEX 2023. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has begun to deploy the OZZ-5 mine-countermeasures (MCM) unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) on its Mogami-class frigates.

This was confirmed by a representative from the second-of-class, JS Kumano , during a visit by Janes to the ship while it was at Changi Naval Base for the IMDEX 2023 naval exhibition.

OZZ-5 units were received by the four in-service Mogami-class frigates beginning in March 2023, and the crane-deployed UUVs have all received yellow livery to denote the equipment's status as being operational.

The frigate's representative has requested that no photos of the operational UUVs be made public for now.

The OZZ-5 is a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)-supplied MCM UUV that was developed by the company in response to a requirement from the JMSDF. Work on the system began in 2017, and the programme was completed in 2021.

The UUV has a length of 4 m, a width of 500 mm, and a weight of 200 kg. It can achieve a top speed of 5 kt and its endurance is nine hours through a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Enclosed within the UUV is the Synthetic Aperture Mine Detection Imaging Sonar (SAMDIS) high-resolution synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) from Thales, which can detect and classify various naval mines. The SAMDIS sonar itself has been developed under a Japan-France defence technology agreement that was signed in 2018.

Besides mine detection sonars, the UUV is also equipped with an inertial navigation system (INS), Wi-Fi and satellite communication systems.

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