The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its first Asahi (25DD)-class guided-missile destroyer in a ceremony held on 7 March in Nagasaki Prefecture. the Asahi is built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in the Nagasaki shipyard. Named JS Asahi (with pennant number 119), the 151 m-long vessel was inducted into the service’s Escort Flotilla 2, based in Sasebo, shortly after being handed over by shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). From a shipbuilding perspective, the 25DD-class was designed with a focus on reducing acquisition cost while ensuring future developability and growth. For this reason, the hull form and vessel design is similar to 19DD-class.
The JMSDF is expected to operate a total of four destroyers of the class. The second ship, Shiranui , was launched by MHI on 12 October 2017. The Asahi-class is optimized for undersea threats. This class used to be designated “25DD” – referring to a date on the Japanese calendar, specifically the 25th fiscal year of the Heisei period (2013). It is the third ship to hold the name after the Asahi-class destroyer escort lent from the US Navy in 1955, and the Imperial Japanese battleship. Shiranui is the third ship to hold the name after the Murakumo and Kagerō class destroyers.
The Asahi-class is an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) class of destroyers based on the existing Akizuki-class (19DD) of destroyers which is more focused on AAW. The vessel displaces over 5,000 tons for a length of 151 meters, a width of 18.3 meters and a draft of 5.4 meters. The Asahi-class is uniquely fitted with a COGLAG (combined gas turbine electric and gas turbine) propulsion system, with two GE LM2500IEC turbine engines connected to two 2.5 MW/3,400 hp electric motors. This is a first for a JMSDF surface combatant. The benefit of the COGLAG configuration is is that it provides sufficient power at greater efficiency for current and future weapon systems.
Another key feature that makes the Asahi-class unique: its sensor suite. To our knowledge, Asahi is Japan’s first warship (and the world’s second after the German F125 and its TRS-4D) to be fitted with an operational GaN-AESA Multifunction Radar. Asahi’s radar is based on the FCS-3A AESA radar system but uses GaN technology for improved performances. FCS-3A comes with 4x C-band and 4x X-band arrays. The sonar suite consists in the OQQ-24 hull mounted sonar and OQR-4 variable depth sonar. In terms of weapon systems, the Asahi-class is fitted with 32x Mk41 VLS cells forward for ESSM SAM and Type 07 VL-ASROC, 8x Type 90 anti-ship missile launchers and 2x triple torpedo launchers. Future weapon systems “may” include the XSSM anti-ship missile, the XRIM-4 surface to air missile.