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Murasame class

Guided-missile destroyer

Murasame class destroyer

The Murasame class destroyers are one of the most capable Japanese warships

Country of origin Japan
Entered service 1996
Crew 165 men
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 150.8 m
Beam 17 m
Draught 5.2 m
Displacement, standard 4 400 tons
Displacement, full load 5 200 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 30+ knots
Gas turbines 2 x General Electric LM2500 delivering 86 000 shp, 2 x Rolls-Royce Sprey SM1C delivering 27 000 shp
Helicopters 1 x SH-60J Seahawk
Artillery 1 x 76 mm OTO Melara Compact gun, 2 x 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
Missiles 8-cell Mk.41 vertical launch system for ASROC, 16-cell Mk.48 VLS for RIM-7M Sea Sparrow SAMs, 8 x SSM-1B Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles
Torpedoes 2 x 324 mm tripple tubes for Mk.46 Mod.5 anti-submarine torpedoes


   In the 1991 fiscal year, the Tokyo yard of Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries began work on nine Murasame class ships officially designated as guided-missile destroyers for the JMSDF (Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force). It is debatable whether these ships are really destroyers or large frigates, but there is no argument that that they are escort ships and constitute a major component of the JMSDF. The first ship of the class, Murasame (DD 101) was laid down in 1993 and was commissioned in 1996.

   The vessels of the Murasame class are multipurpose ships in which considerable effort was devoted in the design phase to the maximised automation of onboard systems wherever possible. This effort paid off in the reduction of the crew to 165 sailors, who thus enjoy the benefits of improved crew accommodation spaces. The ships are powered by four gas turbines for a maximum speed of 30 kts or more, and at a cruising speed of 18 knots the range is 8 350 km.

   Under contract to Lockheed Martin of the US, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries assembled and tested the primary armament for the Murasame class ships, namely the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). Mounted below deck in the bows of the ship, this system is capable of launching several types of missile, though only the Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (VL ASROC) is carried in the Murasame class. The first eight ships of the class were each fitted with two eight-cell modules, but in 1998 it was decided to double this capability to four modules on the ninth ship of the class, the Ariake (DD 109).

   A 16-cell Mk 48 VLS unit is located amidships, and this carries the RIM-7M Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile. A 76 mm OTO Melara Compact main gun is mounted forward of the VLS unit on the forecastle. Eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles are mounted amidships, as are six torpedo tubes, in the form of two triple units, to fire the Mk.46 Mod.5 anti-submarine torpedo. For self defence, two 20 mm Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS) are mounted, one forward of the bridge and the other above the helicopter hangar.

   With an aft landing pad and hangar, the Murasame class ships are each able to carry, house, maintain and operate a single SH-60J helicopter in the anti-submarine warfare role.

   With new Japanese legislation directed against terrorism, the JMSDF has deployed ships in non-combat military support roles to the Indian Ocean. On 9 November 2001, the Kirisame (DD 104) was one of three JMSDF ships deployed, with the primary mission being to gather information and intelligence on routes to ferry supplies into the area.

   In November 2002, Japanese Self-Defence Forces participated in Exercise Keen Sword 2003 in conjunction with US military forces. A number of JMSDF ships including the Ariake, which was integrated into the USS Kitty Hawk's carrier battle group, took part in this bilateral co-operation training exercise for regional conflict.



Murasame class destroyer

Murasame class destroyer

Murasame class destroyer

Murasame class destroyer


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