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IMDEX 2023: Mogami-class frigate calls on Singapore

4th May 2023 - 00:40 GMT | by Harry Lye in London


Despite being the second frigate in its class JS Kunamo was the first to be launched. (Photo: MHI)

The Japanese Mogami class has made its first overseas appearance at a defence exhibition with JS Kumano at IMDEX 2023.

The frigate's visit to Singapore is part of a broader regional deployment of Japanese forces designed by the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) to promote a 'free and open Indo-Pacific'.

In a press release, the JMSDF said the deployment was designed to improve its capabilities and strengthen cooperation with partner navies in the Indo-Pacific.

From April to September, Japanese ships are participating in IMDEX, LIMA 2023, Pacific Vanguard 2023, JIMEX 2023, Pacific Partnership 2023, Talisman Sabre 2023, and Malabar 2023.

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Kumano is the second-in-class Mogami frigate. Built by Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding, the ship was launched in November 2020 and entered service in March 2022.

The class is the first major Japanese surface combatant to be actively promoted for export by the country via shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and is available in different variants.

Japan plans to acquire a fleet of 22 of the frigates to replace the JMSDF's ageing Asagiri and Abukuma-class light destroyers.

Designed with stealth, automation, and modularity in mind, Shephard Defence Insight estimates that each frigate will cost around $408 million based on an $816 million order for the first two ships in 2018.

The ships have a standard displacement of 3,900t and a full load displacement of 5,500t, according to Japan's Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA).

The vessels feature one BAE Systems Mk45 Mod.4 5in naval gun system and two Japan Steel Works 12.7mm Remote Weapon Systems. The frigates are also capable of offensive mine warfare.

Late last year, Japan announced a significant shake-up of its defence policy with a $320 billion capability improvement plan, the procurement of counter-strike capabilities and a pledge to increase spending to 2% of GDP by 2027.

In documents, the New National Security Strategy, the National Defence Strategy, and the Defence Capability Improvement Plan, the Japanese government pledged to strengthen its military, citing the threat posed by China and North Korea.

During a 16 December press conference, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said: 'Looking back on this year, a ballistic missile flew over Japan for the first time in five years. There were also ballistic missiles that landed within our EEZ. In addition, there are signs of readiness for a nuclear test.

'In times of emergency and peacetime, the line between military and non-military has become blurred, and the scope of security has expanded beyond traditional diplomacy and defence to include the economy and technology.'

Harry Lye


Harry Lye

Harry Lye was Senior Naval Reporter at Shephard Media.

Harry joined the company in 2021, …

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