Grey Havoc

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This 2019 brainstorm from the Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics Agency seems to be still moving ahead, and is a bit odd even for that ill-starred front for the Finance Ministry (ostensible status as a MOD agency notwithstanding!).

Apparently the idea was/is to enable the MSDF to be able to more directly back up the Japan Coastguard (aka the Maritime Safety Agency) in patrolling & protecting disputed territorial waters, without necessarily needing to use more 'warlike' vessels. Not sure how well that will work out in practice, given things like the fact that the Chinese Coastguard (now going under the formal name of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force Coast Guard Corps) being effectively a paramilitary auxiliary of the PLAN, not to mention the Fishing Militias who are yet another naval reserve force that are are also increasingly being used to aggressively press the PRC's territorial claims. The high level of automation planned for the concept may end up backfiring given the nature and probable tactics of its likely opponents. Another possible warning sign is that 'modular' construction approach that the ALTA wants the new OPV to use sounds like they may be trying for a supposedly lower cost 'hybrid' design rather than a proper small naval vessel, despite the poor reputation that such designs have generally garnered in recent years (for good reason!).


From back in 2019, one of the contending designs:
Japan’s Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co unveiled during the 2019 Maritime/Air Systems & Technologies Asia exhibition near Tokyo, which was held from 17 to 19 June, its design proposal to meet the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) plans for 12 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

The company is expected to compete against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan Marine United Corporation for the contract to build the OPVs over the coming decade, as envisaged in Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPGs), which were approved by the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December 2018.

In a brochure released at the show Mitsui states that its OPV, which would be able to carry unmanned aerial vehicles and two autonomous unmanned surface vessels, would be capable of conducting surveillance, coastal patrol, and intelligence-gathering operations.

The 100 m-long vessel, which would feature a 360° panoramic bridge, is expected to have a top speed of more than 25 kt and a displacement of 2,000 tonnes. It would have a crew of 23 and be armed with a 76 mm main gun and two 12.7 mm remotely operated machine guns.

The ship would also feature an autonomous manoeuvring system called the “Auto-Target Chasing Function” that would be used to ensure safety and labour saving operation, according to Mitsui.
1626806764580.png
ORIGINAL CAPTION: Japan's Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co unveiled during the 2019 Maritime/Air Systems & Technologies Asia exhibition near Tokyo, which was held from 17 to 19 June, its design proposal to meet the JMSDF’s plans for 12 OPVs. (Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co )
 
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trose213

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This 2019 brainstorm from the Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics Agency seems to be still moving ahead, and is a bit odd even for that ill-starred front for the Finance Ministry (ostensible status as a MOD agency notwithstanding!).

Apparently the idea was/is to enable the MSDF to be able to more directly back up the Japan Coastguard (aka the Maritime Safety Agency) in patrolling & protecting disputed territorial waters, without necessarily needing to use more 'warlike' vessels. Not sure how well that will work out in practice, given things like the fact that the Chinese Coastguard (now going under the formal name of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force Coast Guard Corps) being effectively a paramilitary auxiliary of the PLAN, not to mention the Fishing Militias who are yet another naval reserve force that are are also increasingly being used to aggressively press the PRC's territorial claims. The high level of automation planned for the concept may end up backfiring given the nature and probable tactics of its likely opponents. Another possible warning sign is that 'modular' construction approach that the ALTA wants the new OPV to use sounds like they may be trying for a supposedly lower cost 'hybrid' design rather than a proper small naval vessel, despite the poor reputation that such designs have generally garnered in recent years (for good reason!).


From back in 2019, one of the contending designs:
Japan’s Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co unveiled during the 2019 Maritime/Air Systems & Technologies Asia exhibition near Tokyo, which was held from 17 to 19 June, its design proposal to meet the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) plans for 12 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

The company is expected to compete against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan Marine United Corporation for the contract to build the OPVs over the coming decade, as envisaged in Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPGs), which were approved by the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December 2018.

In a brochure released at the show Mitsui states that its OPV, which would be able to carry unmanned aerial vehicles and two autonomous unmanned surface vessels, would be capable of conducting surveillance, coastal patrol, and intelligence-gathering operations.

The 100 m-long vessel, which would feature a 360° panoramic bridge, is expected to have a top speed of more than 25 kt and a displacement of 2,000 tonnes. It would have a crew of 23 and be armed with a 76 mm main gun and two 12.7 mm remotely operated machine guns.

The ship would also feature an autonomous manoeuvring system called the “Auto-Target Chasing Function” that would be used to ensure safety and labour saving operation, according to Mitsui.
View attachment 661143
ORIGINAL CAPTION: Japan's Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co unveiled during the 2019 Maritime/Air Systems & Technologies Asia exhibition near Tokyo, which was held from 17 to 19 June, its design proposal to meet the JMSDF’s plans for 12 OPVs. (Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co )
It goes back a lot further than that to a joint US study to make a Japanese equivalent to the LCS.

 

Grey Havoc

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Its not quite a direct linkage; while there is some overlap in their planned roles, that project was a green water surface combatant that was designed primarily to counter other such combatants while still being able to support expeditionary and/or special operations (including helping to deal with not only terrorists but also hostile government sponsored carpetbaggers, 'scrap parties' and the like that might be trying to grab vulnerable Japanese territory by stealth) while still retaining a decent deep ocean anti-submarine capability unlike the LCS concept it was partly inspired by. In a way it was both a project of its time in global history (Early Millennium/Transformation/War on Terror & immediate aftermath era) as well as more specifically a reflection of post-Cold War Japanese naval (and military in general) doctrine during that time period, prior to the so-called Second Cold War really ramping up.

The new OPV on the other hand is a concept that is far more limited in both roles and capabilities. It is basically supposed to be more of a non-destabilising deterrent and 'tripwire' unit rather than a serious combatant.
 

trose213

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That project turned into the 30FF (and got a lot more standard looking and boring), while the OPV more retained the LCS qualities. Although, I would be hesitant to just call it an OPV because it has a MCM loadout.

And also it's a bit of a red herring to have a low RCS and a 76mm as part of an OPV.
 

Grey Havoc

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And also it's a bit of a red herring to have a low RCS and a 76mm as part of an OPV.
Though that has been something of an on and off fad in OPV design since the latter part of the 1990s. With regards as to the 30FF, that program (as originally conceived before the Ministry of Finance yet again threw its weight around) owed more to the shelved DEX program.
 

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