Japanese shipbuilding company Mitsui E & S Shipbuilding Co., Ltd has launched the new 30FFM multi-function frigate during a ceremony in Okayama, on November 19.
The Kumano (FFM-2) is the second ship of the 30FFM frigate of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). She was named after Kumano River and shares her name with a World War II heavy cruiser Kumano and Cold War destroyer escort Kumano.
The next generation Japanese frigate displaces over 5,000 tons at full load and combines compactness with manpower saving. The ships of the class are envisioned as frigate-sized vessels with destroyer capabilities. They are expected to replace the Asagiri- and Abukuma-class destroyers.
With the manpower savings concept, JMSDF hopes to address its personnel shortage issues. The vessels will be crewed by some 100 sailors, a notable decrease compared to conventional and Aegis destroyers.
Japan plans to build up 22 vessels in the class vessel at a unit price of about ¥48 billion (approx. $461M).
The shipyard will now proceed to the fitting out stage of the Kumano frigate, ahead of its delivery set for 2021.