The Japanese Ministry of Defense announced on June 30 that it has awarded a contract to shipbuilding company Japan Marine United (JMU) Corporation to build a next-generation offshore patrol vessel (OPV) for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
We had an earlier report about this project.
The project is for 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels of 1920 tons standard displacement. Their full load displacement will be higher, probably in the neighborhood of 2,200 to 2,400 tons.
- Length: 95 meters (312 feet)
- Beam: 12 meters (39’4″)
- Speed: 20 knots (slower than the 25+ knots reported earlier)
- Crew: 30
- Average Cost: $66.6M
The design is said to offer modular adaptability.
Combined diesel-electric and diesel (CODLAD) propulsion promises very economical slow cruising.
Presumably these will be used to shaddow the movements of potentially hostile vessels transiting in or near Japanese waters.
They might also be used to provide counter piracy protection off the Horn of Africa. This would free more capable (and much more expensive) warships to be in position to deal with more significant threats.
The design looks to be almost ideal for export as part of Japan’s on going program to strengthen the maritime law enforcement capabilities of friendly Asian nations.
It does appear there might be some overlap between the missions of this class and those of the Japan Coast Guard.
This combination of sea worthy hull, simple systems, and small crew sounds a lot like my Cutter X proposal to put the machinery, equipment, and crew of the Webber class cutters in a larger, more seaworthy, and longer range hull.
Not just warships – the gigantic JCG patrol vessels that have been used for very long-range anti-piracy ops for many years (starting with functionless Shikishima) are probably needed more urgently at home to counter the equally gigantic Chinese patrol vessels. Interesting that the new vessels will be JMSDF rather than JCG, though.