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JMSDF Asuka Class[Type] testbed

Grey Havoc

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Came across this via an old article at Japan Security Watch; The JMSDF's Asuka Class ASE (Auxiliary Ship Experiment):


[IMAGE CREDIT: vspg.net]​

The Asuka, which is the only one in her class, is an interesting testbed ship built on a Murasame class hull at a old Sumitomo Heavy Industries yard in Yokosuka back in 1992, and is used for the testing of radar and sonar systems, among other things.

Some more photos and info:

http://www.vspg.net/jmsdf/ase6102.html (In Japanese)
http://www.strange-mecha.com/jsdf/jmsdf/JMSDF11.htm
http://www.flickr.com/photos/specmode/4003761759/
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/japan/asuka-specs.htm
 

Grey Havoc

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Some edited excerpts from the Asuka's entry in the Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, 15th Edition (2007):

Builder Laid down Launched In service
ASE 6102 ASUKA Sumitomo, Uraga 21-4-93 21-6-94 22-3-95


Remarks: Requested under the FY 92 budget as an ASW sensor and weapons systems trial ship. Assigned to the 5th Research Center, Kurihama.

Hull systems: Propulsion plant is bridge controlled and drives the propellers at low rpm to reduce radiated noise. The hull has special vibration-damping structures in the vicinity of the very large sonar array, which occupies a 40m long sonar dome extending beneath the ship's keel as far aft as the tower mainmast. An air-bubbler system is also installed. Has provision for female crewmembers. Fin stabilizers and a helicopter haul-down and traversing system are fitted. The hanger can accommodate an SH-60J helicopter.

Combat systems: Conducts trials with surface warfare systems including the FCS-3 radar weapons-control system, which can track 10 targets simultaneously and employs four plannar arrays to cover 360°; the XAAM-4 vertically launched SAM; the Canadian Davis "Dres Ball" infrared stack emission suppression system; the ASO self-propelled ASW target; the S-10 underwater navigation system; the K-RX2 ASW mine; composite armor; and radar-absorbent coatings. Has also conducted trials with infrared surveillance equipment and torpedo countermeasures systems. Provision was made for the installation of an 8-cell Mk 41 vertical missile launch system forward, but it has not yet been fitted.*
*This seems to have been incorrect, although at the time of the article it might have been temporarily removed for some reason. Some other sources claim that she had an 16 cell VLS as of the early 2000's. Another mistake or else she had it installed for a particular project or series of trials. Then again it's possible she had a second separate 8-cell VLS at one stage, causing the confusion.

Interestingly, the entry has the SHI shipyard that built her as being in Uraga (Uraga Dock Company?).
 

Grey Havoc

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Via JasonJ over at Tank-Net, The Asuka being fitted with what may be a naval version of the GSDF's Type 12 ASM:



 

TomS

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I don't think it is. The canister proportions are different from the land-based launcher, which doesn't make any sense. Whatever missile is in this tube is significantly longer than the ground-launched Type 12.



Also, there is a flame diverter at the bottom of the launcher, which we don't see on SSM-1/Type 88 installations. Given that it's very similar in size and profile to the Type 88, there's no reason for Type 12 to need such a thing.

I'm wondering if it might be something more like SM-6 in a box launcher. [Edit] That's unlikely, since SM-6 would go in the Mk 41 just forward of this launcher.] Or maybe even a testbed for something related to the Type 23 missile.

Edit: or perhaps surface-launched XASM-3? It is a bit longer than SSM-1/Type 88/Type 12
 
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