According to the MOD announcement, the main contractor will be Japan Marine United (JMU) and the subcontractor will be Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). The call for companies to participate in the construction of the OPV was launched in October 2021, with JMU and MHI participating, and MOD signing a contract with each in February 2022 regarding the planning and proposal of OPV. MOD then received proposals from both companies and was in the process of discussing which of them would be the primary contractor.
According to the announcement, various items were considered in the selection process, but JMU’s proposal was superior to MHI’s in terms of fuel efficiency, manpower savings related to entry and exit ports, life cycle costs, and maintainability, among others, and JMU was selected as the prime contractor.
About Japan’s Next Generation OPV
The OPVs will assume the peacetime warning and monitoring duties currently performed by JMSDF destroyers and other vessels, and while their primary mission will be to monitor the movements of other naval vessels in the Sea of Japan, East China Sea, and Pacific Ocean, they will also be given multi-functionality to perform a variety of other roles, which could include disaster relief, for example.
As previously reported by Naval News, the OPV will come with the following four features:
・Few crew operation (according to the MOD, the size of the crew is about 30)
・Future autonomous navigation
・Items for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) operations
・Medium and smaller caliber gun
・Deck space for modular payloads
・ISO containerization for mission module
・Low fuel consumption
・Maintenance support package
In addition, according to the announcement, each OPV will be built at a cost of approximately 9 billion yen (about $66 million), and will be armed with a 30mm main gun, have a standard displacement of approximately 1,920 tons, a length of approximately 95 meters, a width of approximately 12 meters, a maximum speed of over 20 knots, and a propulsion system will be CODLAD (combined diesel-electric and diesel).