Shikishima-class patrol vessel

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JCG PLH32 Akitsushima 201508.JPG
Akitsushima (PLH-32)
Class overview
Name: Shikishima-class patrol vessel
Builders: Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries
Operators: Ensign of the Japanese Coast Guard.svg Japan Coast Guard
Preceded by: Mizuho class
Planned: 5
Building: 1
Completed: 2
Active: 2
General characteristics
Type: PLH (Patrol vessel Large with Helicopter)
Displacement: 6,500 tonnes (9,300 tonnes full load)
Length: 150.0 m (492 ft 2 in)
Beam: 16.5 m (54 ft 2 in)
Draft: 9.0 m (29 ft 6 in)
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 20,000 nmi (37,000 km; 23,000 mi)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • OPS-14 2D Air search
  • MS 1596 navigation radar
  • JMA 8303 surface search radar
Aircraft carried: 2 × Eurocopter AS332

The Shikishima-class patrol vessel (しきしま型巡視船, Shikishima-gata-junnshi-senn) is a class of PLH type patrol vessels of the Japan Coast Guard (JCG; former Maritime Safety Agency, MSA).[1][2]


Spent nuclear fuel generated at the nuclear power plants in Japan has been processed at nuclear reprocessing plants in Britain and France, into plutonium and radioactive waste. Then, according to the plan of power generation with the MOX fuel, the Government of Japan decided to transport this plutonium back to Japan.[3]

In the first transportation in 1984, a special tactical team (one of the ancestors of the Special Security Team) was on board the ship to counter maritime hijacking. A second transportation operation was planned in the early 1990s, but due to the revision of the Japan-U.S. Nuclear power agreement in 1988, it was requested to strengthen the security system and the JMSA was to escort. On existing patrol boats, however, it was difficult to complete an escort operation with no port of call.[4] For this operation, the JMSA developed Shikishima under the FY 1989 program as an escort ship with a high endurance and enhanced surveillance capability.[3][5]

Although the transportation of plutonium was not carried out thereafter, Shikishima was valuable as a large offshore platform that can be used for various security matters and long-distance rescue. As construction cost was expensive, construction of sister ships was not realized easily, but in the 2000s, in order to emphasize countermeasures against the piracy problems of the Malacca Strait and the Somali coast, the Senkaku Islands issue, conservation of marine interests In response to the change, construction was considered again. In response, the second ship constructed in the 2010 fiscal year plan was Akitsushima.[6]


Like preceding PLHs, they have a long forecastle, but its internal structure is strengthened that the level of vulnerability resistance is comparable to warship standard. Bulletproof of the bridge structure is pretty much taken into consideration, polycarbonate bulletproof glass is prepared inside the window, metal fittings for the ballistic board are also attached to the outer wall.[7] Watch out for terrorism, the details of the design are said to be secret, and the name of the crew is also deleted on the list published to the public.[8]

Shikishima is the only JCG vessel equipped with anti-air radar and Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannons to enhance anti-air capability whereas ordinary patrol vessels have only surface-search and navigation radars and a single-mounted 35 mm or 40 mm autocanon. The OPS-14 2D air search radar is the Japanese counterpart of the American AN/SPS-49.[9] And as a secondary weapon, two JM61 20 mm gun systems were set up. This system adopts the same rotary cannon as the conventional JM61-M, but it is remotely controlled with an optical director as opposed to JM61-M being manually trained and elevated. It derived from one of the PG-821-class guided-missile patrol boats of the JMSDF, and later, added as a standard equipment of the JCG as the JM61-RFS.[10]

Aviation facilities have also been enhanced. Two Eurocopter AS332 or EC225 Super Puma helicopters were deployed as the shipboard helicopters, whereas the conventional PLHs are equipped with smaller Bell 212.[3]

In service[edit]

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 capability.[3]

In 2015, during the Emperor's and Empress's visit (行幸啓, Gyōkōkei) to Palau, Akitsushima was used as an accommodation ship. Slopes and handrails were set up so that both elderly Majesties could get on board comfortably.[11]

Ships in the class[edit]

Pennant no. Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
PLH 31 Shikishima August 24, 1990 June 27, 1991 April 8, 1992 Yokohama
PLH 32 Akitsushima May 10, 2011 July 4, 2012 November 28, 2013 [5] Yokohama
PLH 33 Reimei June 7, 2017 March 8, 2019

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Asanaga, Youichirou; Ōtsuka, Yukitaka (1995). Japan Maritime Safety Agency - their vessels and aviation. Seizando-shoten publishing co.,ltd. pp. 120–130. ISBN 4-425-77041-2.
  2. ^ Wertheim, Eric (2013). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, 16th Edition. Naval Institute Press. pp. 383–384. ISBN 978-1591149545.
  3. ^ a b c d Henmi, Masakazu (December 2001). "PLH building program and its background". Ships of the World. Kaijin-sha (590): 141–145.
  4. ^ "Shikishima Class Patrol Vessels - Homeland Security Technology". Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  5. ^ a b "Large Patrol Vessel Akitsushima (PLH-32) Enters Japan's Coast Guard Service". Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  6. ^ Ishibashi, Mikio (July 2012). "JAPAN COAST GUARD PLH FLEET IN FUTURE". Ships of the World. Kaijin-sha (762): 128–133.
  7. ^ "LOOKING AT WORLD'S LARGEST PATROL SHIP SHIKISHIMA". Ships of the World. Kaijin-sha (628): 6–9. July 2004.
  8. ^ "NEW PLH AKITSUSHIMA COMPLETED". Ships of the World. Kaijin-sha (792): 62–65. February 2014.
  9. ^ "Japan's Coast Guard acquires next-generation patrol vessel - WORLD -". Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  10. ^ Nakanomyo, Masami (October 2015). "History of shipboard guns on JCG's patrol vessels". Ships of the World. Kaijin-sha (825): 168–173.
  11. ^ Manabe Mitsuyuki; Koseki Toshiki (2015-04-01). "Accommodation "Akitsushima" To the details to be tailored to both Majesties". Mainichi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 2015-04-04.

External links[edit]