The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has revealed that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works launched the fourth Mogami-class vessel on 10 December. The JMSDF has also held the naming ceremony for the ship, which now bears the name like the Mikuma River at Oita prefecture, Kyusyu. Mikuma was laid down on 15 July 2020 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nagasaki and launched and expected to be commissioned in March 2023. The launch of the fourth frigate comes almost exactly a year after the first Mogami-class vessel, which was actually the second in the series, hit the water in November 2020.
The Mogami-class frigate (30DEX) is a Japanese multi-mission stealth frigate in development for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). In 2015, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) unveiled the frigate’s first concept model which they have been developing with their own funds. The 30DX design (although modern) is more conservative compared to the 30FF’s more radical approach. The 30DX design has also been shown in Sea Air Space 2018 (as well as 2019) and Euronaval 2018. The overall intent of the 30DX design is to achieve a modern frigate-sized vessel with capabilities similar to the Akizuki-class destroyer but with a reduced crew and having only half the vertical launching system (VLS) cells.
The Mogami-class frigate design has an overall length of 133 m, breadth of 16 m, a standard displacement of 3900 tons with a full load displacement of about 5500 tons, and a maximum speed of over 30 knots. The stealthy design of models is based on the research and development lessons learned from the Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin stealth fighter technology demonstrator, as both platforms are designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Along with stealth capabilities, the frigate also emphasizes having a high level of automation. This allows the frigate to possess a low crew size of only 90 personnel when compared to the crew complement of other ships of similar size.
Advanced Integrated CIC can display panoramic views around the ship without a blind spot on the screen. It can display panoramic views around the ship without a blind spot on the screen. Weapons for the 30DX include a Mk 45 gun, two remote weapon stations above the bridge, 16-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) at the bow, 8 anti-ship missiles, one SeaRAM, an SH-60L helicopter, torpedoes, and decoy launchers. Another capability is to deploy and recover unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), unmanned surface vehicles (USV), and sea mines from the rear ramp beneath the helo deck. The Mogami-class frigate will also expect to use a naval version of the JGSDF’s Type 03 Ch?-SAM long-range AA missile.