VESSEL REVIEW | Mogami – Japanese frigate boasts stealth capability and advanced sensors

MARITIME SECURITY WEEK
Photo: Japanese Ministry of Defence

The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) recently commissioned a new stealth frigate into service.

Named after a river in Yamagata prefecture, JS Mogami is also the lead ship of its class. However, it is the second in the class to be commissioned, as sister ship JS Kumano was the first to formally enter service earlier in March of this year. The frigate is one of a planned initial batch of eight locally designed ships to be built by Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

The Mogami-class frigates were developed in response to the JMSDF’s need for multi-role surface combatants to replace the Asagiri-class destroyers and Abukuma-class destroyer escorts that were originally designed in the 1980s. The newer frigates also needed to possess nearly similar capabilities as the Akizuki-class destroyers but with smaller crew complements and fewer missile launchers.

Mogami was built by MHI. Like its sisters, it measures 130 by 16 metres and displaces approximately 5,500 tonnes at full load. Power is provided by a Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine and two MAN V28/33DD STC diesel engines in a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) arrangement. This configuration delivers a speed of just over 30 knots.

Photo: Japanese Ministry of Defence

To achieve the desired operational capability even with a smaller number of embarked personnel compared to the Akizuki-class destroyers, the Mogami-class ships are fitted with a number of automated systems. One notable feature is an advanced integrated combat information centre developed by MHI. This system consists of a large circular screen through which operators can view all navigation, propulsion, tracking, and fire control data. The same system provides the crew with a full 360 degrees of visibility through the use of cameras, enabling them to see the areas around the ship without any blind spots.

The remaining essential systems include an OPY-2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) X-band radar, fixed and towed sonars, and an OAX-3 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor. The radar and the EO/IR sensor were supplied by Mitsubishi Electric.

The ship’s armament includes a BAE Systems 127-millimetre naval gun, Mitsubishi Type 17 anti-ship missiles, Raytheon RIM-116 and Type 03 surface-to-air missiles, Mitsubishi Type 12 torpedoes, machine guns on remote weapon stations, and mines. Up to 16 missiles can be housed in and fired from vertical launch system (VLS) cells installed at the bow. A chaff dispenser is fitted to provide some defence against hostile guided missiles.

The frigate has a flight deck and a hangar for use by an SH-60 Seahawk sonar-equipped helicopter for added anti-submarine capability. There is also onboard space for two rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) as well as unmanned surface and underwater vehicles with their deployment into and recovery from the water accomplished with the aid of a stern ramp.

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JS Mogami
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel:Frigate
Flag:Japan
Owner:Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force
Builder:Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan
Hull construction material:Steel
Superstructure construction material:Steel
Deck construction material:Steel
Length overall:130 metres
Beam:16 metres
Displacement:5,500 tonnes
Main engines:Rolls-Royce MT30; 2 x MAN V28/33DD STC
Radar:Mitsubishi Electric OPY-2 AESA
Other electronics:Mitsubishi Heavy Industries combat information centre; Mitsubishi Electric electro-optical/infrared sensor
Armaments:BAE Systems naval gun; Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles; Mitsubishi Type 17 anti-ship missiles; Mitsubishi Type 12 torpedoes; Type 03 surface-to-air missiles; 2 x machine guns; mines
Tenders:2 x rigid inflatable boats
Type of fuel:Diesel
Crew:90

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