“MAST Asia: Mitsui Unveils OPV Design Proposal for JMSDF OPV Requirement” –Naval News

At MAST Asia 2019, the defense exhibition and conference currently held near Tokyo, Japan, local shipbuilder Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (Mitsui E&S) unveiled its OPV design currently competing for a JMSDF requirement.

Naval News reports on a proposal to meet Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force requirement for Offshore Patrol Vessels

This looks like a pretty typical modern Offshore Patrol Vessel if a bit larger and faster than most, with its medium caliber gun, two remote weapon stations for heavy machine guns and helo deck. In fact it looks very much like an improved L’Adroit with it 360 degree vision bridge, integrated mast, and two boats launched from stern ramps .

The real surprise is the crew of 23, one less than the crew of a Webber class. This might not be quite representative of how the Coast Guard would figure the crew size since there is a possibility the law enforcement officers of the boarding party and the aviation support personnel that are part of a USCG crew, may be handled as visiting detachments rather than as crew by the Japanese. Still the crew is going to be less than half of that of a 270.

Since the crew is a large part of the life cycle cost of a ship, there is a natural desire to cut the size of the crew. In operating a ship, frequently there is no reason the size of the ship should be reflected in the size of the crew, if the tasks the crew performs are the same. Still, 23 hardly provides a decent damage control party. Can they operate the helicopter and both boats simultaneously? Having junior personnel aboard in an apprentice role has much to recommend it. The experience of the Navy in attempting to man the LCSs with a minimum crew looks like a cautionary tale. I just hope they are including some provisions for adding personnel.

7 thoughts on ““MAST Asia: Mitsui Unveils OPV Design Proposal for JMSDF OPV Requirement” –Naval News

  1. The drawing looks like a smaller version of the multi-role frigate awarded back in 2018.
    The JMSDF is noted for being conservative and taking an evolutionary approach to ship design indeed their Fleet Structure.
    Why has the JMSDF postulated a rqmt for an OPV? Especially when their ships and cutters are on the front line when confronting both the PLAN and the NORK navy. Is their OPV rqmt more like a corvette? We have not seen the details.
    What is it that the JMSDF sees in the OPV ship type that the USN does NOT?! Please note the USN has not even stated a need for an OPV. The reason given is that the LCS can perform those missions normally assigned to small warships.
    How many ships does the Navy have now for all the lower phase order of combat missions?
    Do those routine and regular missions we see DDGs and other surface combatants doing Really demand a big warship?
    Does the Navy expect the USCG to do More expeditionary missions?
    What will the USN bring to the table for “non-peer” adversary confrontations?

    • The US Navy does not see a need for an OPV, because the US has the USCG for that job. OPV implies law enforcement/sovereignty/rescue missions. The most war-time mission I can imagine an OPV for would be as a trip-wire to early detect and prosecute threats, mainly air and submarine. Those mission areas have become so sophisticated, that until recently, they have required cruiser-size (~10,000 ton) ships to utilize the sensors and weapons. Now, they can be fit onto 100m sized small ships, but, the CG is at least partially setting up NSCs and OPCs for some of that capability. And, I reiterate my consistent/prior point that, in a major war, the OPCs will be needed for CONUS protection, not expeditionary tasks, other than perhaps protecting forward anchorages. NSCs could fulfill the role of a frigate escorting convoys, replenishment groups, and ARGs.

      • That type ship is used by both navies and coast guards around the world. That type ship has utility for both the USCG and the USN. It can have different wepons and sensors for each service.
        It is just that the USN doesn’t want to buy small combatants, or expeditionary ships to operate in the lower phase order of combat.
        Cynics like myself think the USN is just too risk adverse to operate smaller ships in the littorals. And too locked in the procurement box to start another ship buy program~

      • It won’t be CONUS. It would be U.S. and its territories and Commonwealth. PR, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam etc are not considered part of CONUS. Kodiak would probably be turned into a major naval base in wartime. Just my opinion.

    • It seems like a good small OPV. It fits in under the new FFG, So we’ll see what the JMSDF specs look like before putting it down

    • This is, in my thinking, the best use of “unmanned” technology. Convert tasks which technology is capable and robust in doing, and eliminate most of those crew positions. (Probably need to retain capability to analyze and repair problems, but not so much *operate* systems.) However, keep a reduced crew to do those things which need to be done by personnel. Best of both worlds and great reduction in life-cycle costs, as Chuck pointed out.

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