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Naval Warfare

JS Kurama (DDH-144)

Destroyer Warship [ 1981 ]

JS Kurama serves as sister ship to JS Shirane in the two-strong Shirane-class destroyer group.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/21/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

During the 1970s, the Japanese government authorized construction of two new warships to make up the Shirane-class. JN Shirane (DDH-143) would serve as the lead ship and JN Kurama (DDH-144) became her sister. Kurama saw her keel laid down on February 17th, 1978 and she was launched on September 20th, 1979. The warship was formally commissioned on March 27th, 1981. While Shirane was decommissioned in March of 2015, Kurama maintains an active presence in the Japanese fleet today (2017).

In the Japanese Navy, these two ships served a dual-role nature in which the warship carried a modest flight of three navy helicopters and could operate in the traditional destroyer role. Three Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters were carried to serve in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) missions and the vessels were inherently agile and fast with "blue water" capabilities - useful in patrolling the vast open spaces of ocean around the Japanese islands.

As built, Kurama displaces 5,300 tons under standard load and up to 7,600 tons under full load. Dimensions include an overall length of 522 feet, a beam of 57.4 feet, and a draught of 17.4 feet. Power was from 2 x Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) boilers feeding 2 x turbines developing 70,000 horsepower to 2 x shafts. The propulsion system was carried over from the preceding Haruna-class warships. Performance includes a maximum sea-going speed of 31 knots. On board are 350 personnel.©MilitaryFactory.com
Kurama is very much a product of her Cold War roots - the armament suite is a mix of missile and conventional projectile weapons. A Sea Sparrow launcher is used against aerial threats and the Mk 112 installation is an octuple ASROC (Anti-Submarine ROCket) launcher developed as an anti-submarine measure. Deck guns are 2 x FMC 5" /54 caliber Mark 42 series turreted systems in the "1" and "2" positions. Close-in defense is handled by 2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). The warship is also outfitted with 2 x Mark 32 series triple torpedo tubes cleared to fire the Mk-46 family of homing torpedoes.

Beyond personnel and weaponry, the vessel also lives and dies through its installed sensors and processing systems. This includes the OPS-12 3D air-search radar, the OPS-28 surface-search radar, and an OQS-101 bow-mounted sonar fit. Electronic warfare and decoys include the NOLQ-1 system as well as the OLR-9B Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and the Mark 36 SRBOC ("Super-Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasure") - an integrated chaff and decoy-launching system.

With her sister now decommissioned and the usefulness of mixed-armament warships (particularly those with conventional projectile-launching weapons) waning with each passing year, the end of Kurama may also be near. The vessel's most notable action (beyond training maneuvers and the like) was a collision in October of 2009 in which Kurama suffered heavy physical and fire damage to her bow. No deaths were linked to the event but repairs were forced ahead of scheduled maintenance.

The Shirane-class has been officially succeeded by the Hyuga-class of helicopter destroyers in the Japanese naval inventory.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Japan national flag graphic



JS Shirane (DDH-143); JS Kurama (DDH-144)

National flag of modern Japan Japan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.
Flag Ship / Capital Ship
Serving in the fleet Flag Ship role or Capital Ship in older warship designs / terminology.

522.0 ft
159.11 m
57.0 ft
17.37 m
17.0 ft
5.18 m

Installed Power: 2 x Ishikawajima Harima steam turbines with 2 x IHI boilers developing 70,000 shaft horsepower to 2 x shafts.
Surface Speed
31.0 kts
(35.7 mph)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
1 x 8-pod Sea Sparrow surface-to-air guided missile launcher.
1 x ASROC Mk 112 octuple anti-submarine missile launcher.
2 x FMC 5"/54 caliber (127mm) Mark 42 Dual-Purpose (DP) deck guns at bow.
1 x Mk 112 8-shot ASROC ASW torpedo launcher
2 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS)
2 x Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes (MK 46 series torpedoes).
4 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns

Supported Types

Graphical image of a modern warship turreted deck gun armament
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
3 x Sikorsky SH-60J(K) Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) navy helicopters.

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

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Image of the JS Kurama (DDH-144)
Image form the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery network.
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Image of the JS Kurama (DDH-144)
Image form the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery network.
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Image of the JS Kurama (DDH-144)
Image form the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery network.
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Image of the JS Kurama (DDH-144)
Image form the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery network.

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