A handover ceremony was held at the Shimonoseki shipyard, during which the Secretary of the JCG Takahiro Okushima said, « We expect to demonstrate our outstanding capabilities and contribute greatly to the safety and security of people. We recognize the importance of the task and hope that it can proceed as a cornerstone of the Japan Coast Guard ».
The Shunkō is the second ship of the Mizuho-class large patrol vessel. The Mizuho (PLH-41) was launched in November 2018 by MHI. It was officially delivered to the JCG on August 22, 2019.
With a length of 140 m and an displacement of 6,000 tons, the Shunkō is capable of operating two H225 Super Puma or two Sikorsky S-76D helicopters. In addition to a Bofors 40Mk4 40mm main gun, it is fitted with two JM61R-MS 20mm Gatling gun systems. It is also equipped with six water cannons.
The Bofors 40Mk4 has the capability to rapidly switch between optimised ammunition types, including programmable 40mm 3P all-target ammo. It can go from warning to destruction in less than 0.5 seconds. The 3P ammo can be programmed for optimised effect against any target, including airburst patterns for new threats that were previously impossible to engage. The automatically loaded, remotely controlled weapon can also be locally controlled as a backup, equipping the operator for any scenario.
The PLH-42 vessel will be based in Kagoshima and responsible for responding to Chinese ships in the waters around the Senkaku Islands, in the Okinawa Prefecture. The PLH-42 will join the Shikishima-class Reimei patrol vessel (PLH-33) which will be commissioned this month.
In 2012, the JCG had 51 patrol vessels displacing more than 1,000 tons. The service has now 63 large vessels, and the goal is to operate 12 more ships by the end of FY 2023 to deal with new threats.