Japanese shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has launched a new multirole frigate for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

The company said on its Twitter account that it held the naming and launch ceremony at its Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Known as Mogami, the new frigate is expected to enter service anytime next year.

JMSDF said in a tweet: “She is the first MOGAMI type of FFM and her name comes from Mogami River where located in Yamagata. It is said that Mogami River is ‘the mother river’.”

In November last year, Mitsui E&S Group launched the 30FFM ship named as Kumano.

Mogami was also initially scheduled to be launched in November 2020. An issue with the frigate’s gas turbine engine delayed the launch.

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By GlobalData

JMSDF originally planned to procure six frigates of the class. It is expected that the requirement would increase to a total number of 22 frigates. They will be built by both MHI and Mitsui.

Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency selected MHI’s frigate design as the winner during a competition held in 2017.

The frigate features a full load displacement capacity of about 5,500t, and can cruise at a maximum speed of over 30 knots.

It can accommodate not more than 90 sailors due to the increased use of automation aboard the vessel.