Right after the ceremony, Mogami set sail for its home port: Yokosuka Naval Base, as part of the Mine Warfare Force.
The vessel is named after the Mogami River (最上川, Mogami-gawa) located in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. According to the JMSDF “The Mogami River is said to be the “Mother’s River” because it brings many blessings to people.” (最上川は、人々に多くの恵みをもたらしていることから〝母なる大河”と言われています。)
While Mogami (FFM-1) is the first-in-class ship, Kumano (FFM-2), the second ship of the class was commissioned first, in March 2022. This is because Mitsui E&S received a subcontracting order from MHI (the main contractor) for the construction of the 3,900-ton frigate for the JMSDF. Mogami was launched in March 2021 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Nagasaki. Naval News’ Japanese contributor, Yoshihiro Inaba, attended the launch ceremony. Kumano was the first of the FFM ships to be launched, back in November 2020. She was built by local shipbuilder Mitsui E & S Shipbuilding Co., Ltd in Okayama. The third vessel in the class, Noshiro (のしろ), was launched by MHI in Nagasaki in June 2021. The fourth FFM, Mikuma (みくま), was launched by MHI in December 2021.
The Mogami-class / 30FFM (also known as FFM and previously known as 30DX) is the next generation multi-mission frigate designed for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). A total number of 22 Frigates are expected to be procured for the JMSDF.
The two shipyards in charge of building the frigates of the class are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Nagasaki and Mitsui E&S in Okayama. MHI is acting as prime contractor for the program.
Mogami-class FFM characteristics
According to MHI, the FFM multi-mission frigate will have a full load displacement of about 5,500 tons, with a length of 132.5 meters and a beam of 16.3 meters. It will have a maximum speed in excess of 30 knots. The crew complement will be quite low, at about 90 sailors, indicating a high level of automation on board.
The FFM will be equipped with a wide variety of weapons and systems as listed below.
- BAE Systems Mk.45 mod.4 5-inch naval gun system ×1
- Japan Steel Works 12.7mm Remote Weapon System ×2
- Mk.41 VLS
- Raytheon SeaRAM ×1
- MHI Type 17 anti-ship missiles ×8
- Mitsubishi Electric OPY-2 multifunction Radar
- Mitsubishi Electric OAX-3EO/IR sensors
- Hitachi OQQ-11 anti-mine sonar
- NEC OQQ-25 anti-submarine sonar (VDS/TASS)
- UUV (OZZ-5 by MHI) and USV (unknown type) for mine counter measures
- Sea mines for offensive mine warfare
Funding for the installation of Mk. 41 VLS
Initially, the Mogami-class was only “fitted for but not with” (FFBNW) Mk. 41 vertical launch system (VLS). This changed at the end of 2021: According to our Japan-based contributor, Yoshihiro Inaba, In late November, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced the supplementary budget for FY2021, which included a budget for two VLSs sets for FFM ships. Two FFM frigates will get 16 cells each (allowing for a total of 32 quad-parcked ESSM each). The total supplementary budget is about $6.8 billion, of which about $74 million is for the purchase of the VLS shipsets. Originally, the FFM 9 and 10 specified in the defense budget request for FY2022 included a budget for VLS. Therefore the VLS specified in this supplemental budget is for installation on any of the FFM ships 1 through 8.
You can learn more about the 30FFM class with the in-depth feature we published last year