The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has launched its most modern surface combatant warship, the multi-mission stealth frigate JS Kumano (FFM-2).
The warship is currently being fitted out after her launch from the Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding shipyard at Tamano city in Okayama. She will be commissioned into the JMSDF in March 2022.
She's the first of 22 warships in the new 30FFM-class to be launched. A sister-ship, the yet unnamed FFM-1, is still building at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki.
The 30FFM-class (also called the 30DX-class) has also been selected by the Indonesian Navy to upgrade its maritime warfighting capabilities. An initial order of four 30FFM frigates has been ordered by the Indonesian Navy.
Indonesia will acquire the 30FFMs from Japan in the first major defense deal between both nations under the administration of new Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga.
The deal follows last month's visit to Indonesia by Suga, who succeeded in building a trilateral security alliance among Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia to counter China's expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region.
Suga held talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Both leaders pledged to strengthen security cooperation and also agreed to step up negotiations on a trilateral security pact with Vietnam.
The Indonesian Navy has embarked on a costly modernization program that will result in its transformation into a "green water navy" by 2024. Attaining this goal will give the Indonesian Navy the capability to operate in Indonesia's littoral zones and in the open seas surrounding the archipelago.
Warships of the 30FFM-class will be heavily armed with 16 Mark 41 VLS (vertical launch system) at the bow; a 5 inch, 54 caliber, rapid-fire Mark 45 deck gun; two remote weapons stations between the bridge and main gun, torpedoes, decoy launchers, and a SeaRAM surface-to-air missile (SAM)system.
SeaRAM combines the radar and electro-optical system of the Phalanx CIWS Mk-15 Block 1B (CRDC) with an 11-cell RIM-116 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launcher in an autonomous system not needing any external information to engage threats.
The 30FFM might later be armed with the Type 03 Chu-SAM Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile currently in service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
It comes with an integrated mast fitted with a Mitsubishi Electric OPY-2 multifunction radar and other sensors and an integrated combat information center. There will also be anti-mine and anti-submarine sonar.
JMSDF has placed an initial order for six frigates. Suga's government has requested a further $951 million for two more ships in its latest defense budget request.