Shikishima (PLH 31)
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|Builder:||Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries|
|Laid down:||August 24, 1990|
|Launched:||June 27, 1991|
|Commissioned:||April 8, 1992|
|Length:||150.0m (492 ft)|
|Beam:||16.5m (54 ft)|
|Draft:||9.0m (29 ft)|
|Speed:||25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)|
|OPS-14 2D Air search|
|Aircraft carried:||2 × Eurocopter AS332|
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 auto-cannon. 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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