According to Naval News, Japanese shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Nagasaki launched on June 23, 2022 JS Yahagi (FFM-5), the fifth Mogami-class vessel. Also known as FFM, it is a next generation frigate for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
The first ship-in-class, JS Mogami (FFM-1), was launched in March 2021 by MHI and commissioned with the JMSDF in April this year. Another shipyard, Mitsui E & S Shipbuilding located in Okayama launched the second ship of the class, JS Kumano (FFM-2), back in November 2020. The third vessel in the series, JS Noshiro (FFM-3), was launched by MHI in June 2021 while the fourth FFM, JS Mikuma (FFM-4), was launched by the same shipyard in December 2021.
The vessel is named after the Yahagi River (矢作川, Yahagi-gawa) which flows through Nagano, Gifu and Aichi prefectures. All ships of the class are named after famous rivers in Japan. The shipyard will now proceed to the fitting out stage of the frigate, ahead of its delivery and commissioning set for the end of 2023.
Mogami-class FFM characteristics
According to MHI, the FFM multi-mission frigate will have a full load displacement of about 5,500 tons, with a length of 132.5 meters/434.7 feet and a beam of 16.3 meters/53.5 feet. It will have a maximum speed in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h. The crew complement will be quite low, at about 90 sailors, indicating a high level of automation on board.
The FFM will be equipped with a wide variety of weapons and systems as listed below:
- BAE Systems Mk.45 mod.4 5-inch/127-mm naval gun system ×1
- Japan Steel Works 12.7-mm Remote Weapon System ×2
- 41 VLS
- Raytheon SeaRAM ×1
- MHI Type 17 anti-ship missiles ×8
- Mitsubishi Electric OPY-2 multifunction Radar
- Mitsubishi Electric OAX-3 Electro-Optical and InfraRed (EO/IR) sensors
- Hitachi OQQ-11 anti-mine sonar
- NEC OQQ-25 anti-submarine sonar (Variable Depth Sonar, VDS/Towed Array Sensor System, TASS)
- UUV (OZZ-5 by MHI) and Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) unknown type for mine counter measures
- Sea mines for offensive mine warfare
Funding for the installation of Mk.41 VLS
Initially, the Mogami-class was only «fitted for but not with» (FFBNW) Mk.41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). This changed at the end of 2021: in late November, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced the supplementary budget for FY2021, which included a budget for two VLSs sets for FFM ships. Two FFM frigates will get 16 cells each (allowing for a total of 32 quad-packed ESSM each). The total supplementary budget is about $6.8 billion, of which about $74 million is for the purchase of the VLS shipsets. Originally, the FFM 9 and 10 specified in the defense budget request for FY2022 included a budget for VLS. Therefore, the VLS specified in this supplemental budget is for installation on any of the FFM ships 1 through 8.