Yahagi, adornedwith ribbons and a banner with her name, floats out of the drydock with balloons to celerate her launch.

Mitsubishi Launches JS Yahagi, Japan’s Fifth Stealth Frigate

This morning at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works held the naming and launching ceremony for JS Yahagi, the fifth and latest addition to the Mogami class multi-role frigates of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.

Following Japanese naming conventions, JS Yahagi is named after Yahagi river in Chubu region at central Japan, in a tweet, the JMSDF also emphasized an arrow-making village in the river’s basin. The previous Yahagi was an Agano Class cruiser that served the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War, sunk during Operation Ten-Go at the final stages of the Pacific War besides the battleship Yamato.

After Mogami’s launch, work will continue to prepare it for commission and active service with the JMSDF, particularly with fitting and testing of the ship’s weapons, propulsion and electrical systems before its expected entry into the service in December 2023.

With a length of 133 meters, a beam of 16.3 meters, and 5,500 metric tons of displacement at full load, the Mogami class can comfortably sail at speeds in excess of 30 knots. The high level of automation onboard has allowed a more than 50% reduction in crew complement to from 200 sailors needed for the previous generation to 90 sailors. The “Advanced Integrated CIC” integrates navigation, ship and ally status, situation awareness and combat information onto a 360-degree display for the CIC crew.

The Mogami class’s weapon loadout is as follows:

  • 16 Mk. 41 VLS tubes forward
  • 1 BAE Systems Mk.45 mod.4 5-inch naval gun
  • 8 MHI Type 17 anti-ship missiles
  • 1 Raytheon SeaRAM for close in air defense
  • 2 Japan Steel Works .50 caliber Remote Weapon Stations
  • Sea Mines and minelaying equipment
  • Type 12 anti-submarine torpedos
  • OZZ-5 underwater drones to remove naval mines

For sensors, the Mogami class has mostly been outfitted with domestic productions:

  • Mitsubishi Electric OPY-2 Radar and OAX-3EO/IR sensors
  • Hitachi OQQ-11 anti-mine and NEC OZZ-5 anti-submarine sonars
  • One SH-60L is also carried for aerial anti-submarine patrol

According to Naval News, the Mogami class initially were “Fitted For But Not With” Mk. 41 VLS cells until the release of the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s supplementary budget for FY2021 “included a budget for two VLSs sets for FFM ships” for 74 Million USD, further orders of Mogami class frigates starting from hull no. 9 have also since had a budget for VLS systems to be installed from factory.