JMSDF commissions 3rd Awaji-class minesweeper

The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) has commissioned one more vessel this month — the third Awaji-class minesweeper JS Etajima (MSO-306).


The delivery and commissioning ceremony took place at Yokohama shipyard, part of Japan Marine United (JMU) Corporation, on 16 March 2021.

Photo: JMU

Launched in December 2019, the newbuild is the third unit in the Awaji class of minesweepers with a standard displacement of 690 tons. The Japanese government has also requested funds for the construction of the fourth minesweeper.

The 67-meter-long, 11-meter-wide vessels are armed with a 20 mm cannon and are equipped with light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems. Powered by two 2,200 hp diesel engines, the minesweepers can reach a speed of 14 knots, according to JMU.

The shipbuilder has also been in charge of the construction of the first ship — named Awaji and launched in 2015 — and the second, Hirado, launched in 2017.

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The Awaji-class vessels succeed Japanese Yaeyama-class minesweepers, the last of which was decommissioned in 2017.