Responding Threat to China's Invasion, Japan Changes the Function of Destroyer to Aircraft Carrier

Responding Threat to China's Invasion, Japan Changes the Function of Destroyer to Aircraft Carrier
Japan Changes the Function of Destroyer to Aircraft Carrier

International Military - Responding to the threat of invasion from China, the Japanese Navy is said to have started work on renovating their multipurpose destroyer, the JS Izumo, into an aircraft carrier. The 28,000 tonne JS Izumo has a marking that is believed to be part of the Japanese military's comprehensive effort to enable it to accommodate the F-35B Lightning type STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) aircraft.

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Quoted from Defense Security Asia, in recent times, US Marine Corps F-35B aircraft have conducted take-off and landing exercises from the JS Izumo, signaling that the transition to aircraft carrier is getting closer. The Japanese government expects the F-35B to operate from the JS Izumo along with the helicopter and tilt-rotor aircraft "Osprey."

Japan is known to have ordered 105 F-35 aircraft for its air force, with about 40 in the F-35B STOVL version. Japan has never confirmed or denied speculation about the renovation of the JS Izumo and another multipurpose destroyer, the JS Kaga, into aircraft carriers.

But the latest photos circulating seem to confirm the government's efforts toward modifying the warships into aircraft carriers. In addition to the JS Izumo and JS Kaga, the Japanese Navy also has two other similar ships, namely the JS Hyuga and JS Ise.

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However, the size of the two ships could not match the JS Izumo and JS Kaga. The two Izumo-class vessels are estimated to be worth more than US$1 billion each and began commissioning into JMSDF service in 2015 and 2017.

For the first ship, the Izumo, construction began in 2011. The main tasks of the JS Izumo and JS Kaga were originally designed to transport helicopters for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), humanitarian operations and for reconnaissance (surveillance).

The two ships are each capable of carrying around 400 Japanese troops, seven ASW helicopters, and two search and rescue helicopters to support its anti-submarine operations.

For defense systems, the JS Izumo and JS Kaga each carry two CIWS (Close In Weapon System) units and two "SeaRam" missiles. However, the actual defense system will be provided by its escort ships which may consist of destroyers and frigate-class ships, in addition to submarines that will oversee the security of its subsurface security.

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