Shikishima (PLH 31)

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JapanCoastGuard Shikishima.jpg
Career (Japan) Ensign of the Japanese Coast Guard.svg
Name: PLH-31 Shikishima
Builder: Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries
Laid down: August 24, 1990
Launched: June 27, 1991
Commissioned: April 8, 1992
General characteristics
Displacement: 6,500 GT
Length: 150.0m (492 ft)
Beam: 16.5m (54 ft)
Draft: 9.0m (29 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × shafts
4 × diesel engines
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 20,000 nmi
Sensors and
processing systems:
OPS-14 2D Air search
Armament: 2 × Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon
2 × JM61 20mm gun
Aircraft carried: 2 × Eurocopter AS332

The Shikishima PLH-31 is a Shikishima class (PLH) of the Japan Coast Guard. She was built by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Tokyo.

Planned to guard plutonium transport ships, the Shikishima class is the largest and heaviest-equipped patrol vessel of the JCG. With her cruising capacity, she can make voyages from Japan to Europe without making any calls.

She is the only JCG ship equipped with anti-air radar and Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannons, so she has increased anti-air firepower. Usually, PL (Patrol vessels, Large) have only a navigation radar and a single-mounted 35mm or 40mm autocanon. And the JM61 20mm Vulcan on the single-mounted Remote weapon system later became a model for the 20mm RFS (Remote Firing System), which is on modern PMs and PSs such as the Tsurugi class PS. The OPS-14 2D air search radar is the Japanese counterpart of the American AN/SPS-49.

At present, she is frequently sent on long cruises to Southeast Asia to foster international cooperation against piracy in the Strait of Malacca. She is also assigned to the policing mission of Senkaku Islands because of her cruising capacity. The JCG appreciate her capability, so they have been planning to build two more vessels based on this design.

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