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Japan eyes muscling up Australia’s rebuilding navy

Japan is considering launching a bid to jointly develop its Mogami-class frigates with Australia. If selected, the joint project would enhance bilateral defense capabilities, boost Japan’s local defense industry and counterbalance China’s rising naval power.

This month, The Japan Times reported Japan would seek to revamp its most advanced destroyer and export it to Australia if selected to participate in the program, according to multiple sources close to the government.

In February, Australia announced its plan to acquire 11 general-purpose frigates, citing ships from Japan, Spain, South Korea and Germany as potential candidates, the reports said.

Australia is expected to release further details including required performance specifications later this year and offer each candidate country a proposal for possible joint development, the reports said.

The Japan Times says the Japan Ministry of Defense (MOD) has started informal discussions with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Ltd., which builds warships for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The Japan MOD is reportedly considering developing the Mogami-class frigate by adding any facilities and functions required by the Australian government.

Mogami-class frigates can be operated with a crew of about 90, half as many as similar conventional ships, due to the consolidation of onboard systems and other improvements.

Japan’s Mogami-class frigates are state-of-the-art stealth vessels with advanced radar systems and a versatile armament suite for modern naval warfare and multi-mission capabilities.

Naval Technology notes that the ships represent a new generation of multi-mission-capable vessels designed to replace Japan’s aging Asagiri and Abukuma-class