The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has selected Japan Marine United (JMU) to supply up to 12 next-generation offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
The MoD announced on 30 June that JMU’s proposal, which is centred on a 95m-long design, secured the greatest number of points in a competitive evaluation with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) placed second. The result means that JMU has been selected as the prime contractor for the OPV programme, with MHI appointed as sub-contractor.
Mitsui E&S also participated in the evaluation process with its 100m-long, 2,000 tonne design, which featured a 360° panoramic bridge and would be capable of carrying unmanned aerial and surface vehicles.
A graphic released by the MoD’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) indicates that the selected OPV design will displace approximately 1,920 tonnes and will be powered by a combined diesel-electric and diesel (CODLAD) propulsion system that will enable maximum speeds of over 20kt.
The OPV will be armed with a foredeck-mounted 30mm naval gun for self-defence, while a crane will be fitted to the aft section of the vessel near the hangar and multipurpose rear deck. A launch and recovery system (LARS) will also be integrated to its stern.
The MoD stated that contract negotiations for the construction of the OPVs should be concluded in 2023. Each vessel is estimated to cost about ¥ 9 billion (US$66 million), it added.
The OPV programme calls for the construction of 12 highly automated vessels that can be configured quickly for a wide range of missions, enabling the JMSDF to conduct “enhanced steady-state intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in the waters around Japan”.
ATLA earlier disclosed in July 2021 that the OPVs will require fewer personnel to operate via features such as autonomous navigation systems and advanced ISR equipment. The vessels will also be equipped with a multipurpose hangar and deck space that can modular payloads and containerised mission modules.
by Jr Ng