Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (Mitsui E&S) launched the new 30FFM multi-mission frigate JS Kumano (FFM-2) for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) at its Tamano Works yard on November 19. Kumano was laid down on 30 October 2019 and is expected to be commissioned in March 2022. She was named after Kumano River and shares her name with a World War II heavy cruiser Kumano and Cold War destroyer escort Kumano. While the first to be launched, Kumano is the second ship in the class. The lead ship, which is being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), is yet to be named and launched.
The 30FFM (also known as 30FF, 30DX, or 30DEX) is a Japanese multi-mission frigate in development for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The frigate design has an overall length of 130 m, breadth of 16 m, a standard displacement of 3900 tons with a full load displacement of about 5500 tons. The frigate also emphasizes on having a high level of automation. This allows the frigate to possess a low crew size of only 90 personnel compared to other ships of similar size. The frigates will be powered by a Rolls-Royce MT30 Gas Turbine and MAN diesel engines, propelling to speeds of over 30 knots. The 30FFM frigates are set to replace JMSDF’s Asagiri-class destroyers and Abukuma-class destroyer escorts.
Its armament included a Mk5″/54 caliber Mark 45 gun, two remote weapon station above the bridge, 16 Mk 41 VLS at the bow, 8 anti-ship missiles, one SeaRAM, an SH-60L helicopter, torpedoes, and decoy launchers. It can also deploy and recover UUV, USV, and sea mines from the rear ramp beneath the helideck. It is also expected to use a naval version of the Type 03 Chū-SAM. The stealthy design of both models is based on the research and development from the Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin (then ATD-X) stealth fighter technology demonstrator, as both platforms are designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The overall design of the 30FFM is to achieve a frigate sized vessel with the capabilities similar to the Akizuki-class destroyer.
Japan plans to build up 22 vessels in the class vessel at a unit price of about ¥48 billion ( $461 million). Frigate designs has been showcased in four naval exhibitions to attract potential export customers. The 30FF has been shown in PACIFIC 2015 as a contender for Australian Navy’s SEA5000 ASW Frigate Program and in Sea Air Space 2017. The 30DX design has been shown in Sea Air Space 2018 (as well as 2019) and Euronaval 2018. Japan plans to export 4 destroyers to Indonesia, and another 4 will be built in indonesia under ¥300 billion contract.