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Japan moving ahead with Mogami Class frigates despite economic turmoil, report says

PHILIPPINE SEA (Oct. 4, 2023) The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Mogami-class frigate JS Noshiro (FFM 3), bottom, and the Murasame-class destroyer JS Yuudachi (DD 103), top right, break away from formation with the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), in the Philippine Sea, Oct. 4, 2023. Photo: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Caroline H. Lui.

Japan will persist with the construction of two new Mogami Class frigates despite economic turmoil in the country, according to research published by data and analytics company GlobalData.

Japan will persist with the construction of two new Mogami Class frigates despite economic turmoil in the country, according to research published by data and analytics company GlobalData.

The East Asian country has earmarked $50 billion for defence in 2023, directing substantial investments towards naval vessels and surface combatant development to bolster the nation’s self-defence forces, according to the latest report published on 17 November.

The document, Naval Vessels and Surface Combatants Market Size and Trend Analysis by Segments, Programs, Competitive Landscape and Forecast to 2033, also stated that despite economic challenges, the Japan Ministry of Defense has proposed a noteworthy 17.2 per cent increase in the 2024 defence budget to fund the construction of two advanced Mogami Class frigates, or Future Frigate Multirole (FFM) vessels (with more advanced equipment and higher level automation).

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Japan’s Mogami Class procurement program will account for about 10 per cent of the total spending on frigates segment by countries in the Asia-Pacific region over the period 2023–33, supporting the four units of FFMs already in its fleet.

“China’s growing maritime influence over Japanese offshore territories and maritime boundaries poses a major threat to Japan’s strategic interests,” according to GlobalData aerospace and defence analyst Akash Pratim Debbarma.

“These two new FFM vessels, with their stealth capabilities, will be an important asset for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, not only as an advanced combat vessel but will also act as a potent platform for conducting reconnaissance and surveillance operations in the region.

“Driven by the desire to establish its territorial claims over the Kuril Islands and Senkaku Islands, Japan realises the importance of modernising its naval fleet.

“This is more evident from the fact that, despite the recent economic turmoil in Japan, the country’s policymakers are ensuring that scheduled production of critical naval assets such as the FFM vessels are not impacted. Just like the previous Mogami Class frigates, the latest two vessels will also be likely to be delivered on time.”

Mogami Class frigates have previously been armed with BAE Systems 127 mm/62-caliber naval gun, eight MHI Type 17 anti-ship missiles, and Raytheon 11-cell SeaRAM close-in weapon system that can deploy RIM-116C Block 2 Rolling Airframe Missiles. They may also feature OQQ-25 variable depth sonar, towed array sonar, and an MK41 vertical launch system.

The frigates have previously been touted as a possible “mother ship” for deployment of unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles.

Indonesia, despite having its own shipbuilding capabilities, is looking to purchase eight units of the FFMs from Japan, according to GlobalData, indicating faith by the international community in Japanese technology and expertise in shipbuilding industry.

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