JS Abukuma, hull number 229, is the lead ship of the Abukuma-class destroyer escort.

JS Abukuma, was commissioned on 12 December 1989. Developed as a successor to the Yubari class, the Abukuma class possesses anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare capabilities.

A total of 6 ships were built, although 11 were planned. The ships are all named after Japanese World War II cruisers. The Abukuma Class primarily conducts anti-submarine patrol operations. It can also be deployed to attack enemy surface vessels in the coastal area.

When completed, JS Abukuma has a full load displacement of 2,550 tons, a length of 109 m, a beam of 13 m, and a draft of 3.7 m. The vessels also marked the first Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships to feature stealth design qualities for basic radar avoidance at range. The ship’s design incorporates a V-shaped hull for reduced radar cross section. The superstructure design is almost identical to that of the former escort ships, that boast limited stealth characteristics.

JS Abukuma 229
JS Abukuma 229

JS Abukuma is equipped with a Combined diesel or gas engine configuration, including 2 Kawasaki-RR SM1A gas turbines, with 26,650 hp, and 2 more Mitsubishi S12U MTK diesels, with 6,000 hp. The ship can reach a top speed of 27 knots.

JS Abukuma and her sisters are armed with four RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a Type 74 eight-round launcher for firing anti-submarine rockets. Two triple 324mm Type 68 torpedo tubes onboard can launch Mark 73 or Mark 46 Mod 5 torpedoes.

The main gun is a 76mm OTO Melara compact dual purpose gun. The gun can fire 85 rounds a minute, up to a range of 2km. The close-in air defence is provided by a Phalanx close-in weapon system.

The FCS-2 is the shipborne Fire-Control System installed to deal with ranged threats and this relies on a Passive, Electronically-Scanned Array radar system. Beyond that, the vessel is outfitted with the usual self-survival measures and sensor equipment common to modern ocean-going ships.

JS Abukuma was launched on December 21, 1988, and officially commissioned on December 12, 1989. As destroyer escorts, her primary purpose is convoy, merchant, and fleet support and these vessels are designed for Blue Water service away from friendly shores.


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