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.