Monday, December 16, 2019

Japan launches third Awaji-class minesweeper

The Etajima, as it was launched by JMU on 12 December 2019. Photo c/o JMSDF.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) confirmed that Japanese shipbuilder Japan Marine United (JMU) launched the third Awaji-class minesweeper during ceremonies held on 12 December 2019.

The ship, which was named as Etajima (MSO-306), is the final ship of the class ordered from JMU to eventually replace the older Yaeyama-class minesweepers in service with the JMSDF. The ships are meant to conduct minesweeping and mine safety operations around Japan’s ports, territorial and exclusive economic zone waters, as well as on shipping routes.

The Etajima is expected to be commissioned with the JMSDF in 2021.

The Awaji-class are 67 meters long, with a beam of 11 meters,  a draught of 5.2 meters, and displacement of 690 tons. They can reach a maximum speed of 14 knots with its two 2,200 horsepower marine diesel propulsion engines.  They have a crew of 60 officers and sailors.

The ships are armed with a remotely controlled weapon station located on the bow deck, mounting  a JM61R-MS 20mm caliber cannon.

[1] Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
[2] Navy Recognition
[3] Jane’s Defence Weekly

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