Asia Defense

Japan Commissions New Anti-Submarine Warfare Destroyer

The second Asahi-class guided missile destroyer was commissioned in late February.

Japan Commissions New Anti-Submarine Warfare Destroyer
Credit: Japan Maritime Self Defense Force

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its second Asahi-class guided missile destroyer, christened JS Shiranui (pennant number 120), during a ceremony held at in Nagasaki in southwestern Japan on February 27.

The commissioning ceremony was held at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) subsidiary Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagasaki City. The new warship, based on the Akizuki-class destroyer design, is expected to serve in the JMSDF’s Escort Division 7 of Escort Flotilla 3, based in Ominato Base in Mutsu, Aomori prefecture.

The lead ship of the class, the JS Asahi, was laid down in 2015 and commissioned in March 2018. The Shiranui was launched in October 2017 and began sea trials in July 2018. The per-unit cost for each Asahi-class destroyer is estimated at around $900 million. The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) approved the acquisition of the destroyers in 2013.

The JS Shiranui has a standard displacement of 5,100 tonnes (5,628 tons). The ship is powered by powered by two General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines in a combined gas turbine-electric and gas-turbine (COGLAG) configuration. According to the JMSDF, this allows the ship to be more fuel efficient and also increases its operational range.

The ship can accommodate up to two Mitsubishi-built SH-60K helicopters, specialized in anti-submarine warfare (one on the flight deck and another one in the ship’s hangar.) The helicopters, fitted with dipping sonars, can be armed with up to two Mark 46 lightweight torpedoes and depth charges.

The destroyer is principally an anti-submarine warfare platform.

To that purpose, the Shiranui is fitted with six (two triple) 324-millimeter torpedo tubes, an OQQ-24 hull-mounted sonar, and an OQR-4 tactical towed array system (TACTAS). The ship is reportedly equipped with a modified FCS-3A active phased array fire control radar using Gallium nitride components that are supposed to improve system performance. The combat management system is the OYQ-13 ACDS (Advanced Combat Direction System).

The Asahi class is armed with a BAE Systems Mk45 mod 4 127 millimeter main gun with a range of 20 nautical miles (36 kilometers), two Raytheon Phalanx 20 mm close-in weapon systems (CIWS), 32 Mk41 vertical launching system (VLS) cells for RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow surface-to-air (SAM) missiles, Type 07 vertical-launch anti-submarine rockets, up to eight Type 90 anti-ship missiles, and two 533-millimeter triple torpedo launchers.

The JS Shiranui has a top speed of 30 knots and a crew complement of 220, according to the JMSDF.

Last month, the JMSDF hosted an anti-submarine warfare exercise, code-named Submarine Competition (SUBCOMP), that also involved U.S. naval forces in waters south of Japan.