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Japan eyes collaboration with Australia on new frigate development.

According to information published by Japan News on May 8, 2024, the Japanese government is considering a bid to co-develop new frigates with Australia.
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Mogami class frigate JS Niyodo. (Picture source: Japan Maritime Self Defense Force)

Japan plans to upgrade its Maritime Self-Defense Force’s advanced frigate and offer it to Australia if chosen as a development partner. Japan will face competition from other countries, but securing this bid could markedly advance its defense sector.

Australia's February announcement to acquire 11 general-purpose frigates for its Navy listed Japan, Spain, South Korea, and Germany as contenders. Detailed performance specifications are expected from Australia later this year, with proposals to be invited from the shortlisted countries.

The Japanese Defense Ministry has initiated informal talks with companies like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which manufactures frigates for the JMSDF. These discussions are poised to intensify in alignment with Australia's forthcoming requirements.

The Ministry is contemplating using the Mogami-class frigate, which entered service in 2022, as a foundation for the new ship. This class, known for requiring a smaller crew and featuring advanced minesweeping capabilities, could meet Australia’s need.

Amid escalating activities by China in the East and South China Seas, a Japan-Australia frigate collaboration could strengthen mutual operations and serve as a counterbalance. Additionally, this project is expected to deliver economic benefits to Japan’s defense industry.

Japan’s previous attempt to co-develop submarines with Australia in 2016 was unsuccessful, unlike Spain and South Korea, who have participated in Australian defense projects.

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