Skip to comments.Despite appearances, Japan insists Izumo is not an aircraft carrier
Posted on 01/09/2014 9:51:22 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
The Maritime Self-Defense Forces newest ship has a flight deck its entire length and is nearly the size of the Shokaku and Zuikaku aircraft carriers that took part in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, yet Japan insists it is not an aircraft carrier.
With a length of about 250 meters and standard displacement of 19,500 tons, the Izumo is the biggest ship in the fleet. Up to nine helicopters can land on its deck at the same time.
Even so, the Defense Ministry and MSDF insist the Izumo, which was launched last summer, is simply a destroyer capable of carrying helicopters.
Media in China and South Korea played up the launching, calling the Izumo a "semi-aircraft carrier" and evidence of a rightward tilt in Japan's policies.
Military journalist Shinichi Kiyotani said: "Under international standards, it is nothing less than an aircraft carrier. The government is gradually expanding its interpretation because it is afraid it could become a political problem."
For its part, Jane's Fighting Ships, a reference book on all the worlds warships released annually in Britain, describes the Izumo as a helicopter carrier.
The Izumo is scheduled to replace the destroyer Shirane based at the MSDF base in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, in spring 2015. The Shirane has a standard displacement of 5,200 tons.
The MSDF already has two other helicopter-carrying destroyers with standard displacements in excess of 10,000 tons: the Hyuga and the Ise. Another ship on the same scale as the Izumo is also under construction, meaning the MSDF will eventually maintain four of the large ships.
The Mid-Term Defense Program approved by the Abe Cabinet in December placed the four helicopter-carrying destroyers as the core vessels of the nations escort flotillas.
Some ships are defined by their duty, such as submarines and transport ships. However, all large surface ships whose primary mission is combat-related are defined as destroyers.
Katsutoshi Kawano, the chief of staff of the MSDF, said, "Under regulations, there is no other way to refer to the ship but as a destroyer."
The government issued a statement in 1988 on deploying of aircraft carriers. The document stated that the SDF would not possess intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers or attack aircraft carriers.
With Japan maintaining an exclusive defensive posture, aircraft carriers like those used by the U.S. Navy, which are capable of projecting force against both sea and land targets with their fighter jets, were not considered conducive to that policy.
Defense Ministry officials said there are no plans for the Izumo to carry fighter jets. Rather, they insisted the Izumo is a multipurpose ship that will be used to deal with natural disasters or international emergency rescue operations.
To address concerns the Izumo can handle vertical landing fighter jets, such as the F-35B, a high-ranking Defense Ministry official said, "While retrofitting might be possible, it would be impossible realistically since it would require huge amounts of time and money, including the purchase of the jets and the training of the necessary personnel."
Since the end of World War II, one of the MSDF's main missions has been to work in conjunction with the U.S. Navy to search out, and destroy if need be, enemy submarines.
That mission remains unchanged, given that China and other neighboring nations have expanded their submarine fleets.
Previous generation destroyers deployed by the MSDF could only carry from one to three anti-submarine helicopters with the sensors and torpedoes needed to detect and potentially destroy hostile underwater forces.
However, it was decided that if the number of helicopters a destroyer was capable of handling was increased and repairs could take place on deck, search-and-destroy missions could be made more efficient, expanding their scope and length of mission.
Yoji Koda, who once served as the commander of the Self-Defense Fleet, said, "The Izumo is a ship that is fundamentally different from an aircraft carrier. If an aircraft carrier is deemed necessary in the future, it should only be constructed after explaining to the public why it is needed."
The Liberal Democratic Party originally budgeted for the Izumo in fiscal 2010. The launching came after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power following the LDP's election triumph over the Democratic Party of Japan in December 2012.
And the Liaoning is a floating casino.
Although I must say, for the record, I think Japan should arm itself to the teeth, given that it has such a friendly neighbor and all.
“is simply a destroyer capable of carrying helicopters.”
I’m gonna ask the NSA for the records of where you get all your great images so fast. You’ve been ahead of the curve for years! : )
Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, it’s a swan...
helicopters are aircraft too
so are F-35’s
That big ship with a flat top, wink wink, not an aircraft carrier, nudge nudge
Think of it as Japan's naval equivalent of the Meiji Restoration abolished samurai carrying their outlawed swords as canes.
It looks like the perfect size for a drone carrier to my untrained eye. Build a quick ramp, and pack it full of drones armed to the teeth. Small, fast and cheap. I’ll take twenty of those please.
I can hear that song from apocalypse now in the background.
And I’m dreaming of the fighter drone variety, even though I know they’re almost as big as a regular fighter.
I don’t think this thing can handle aircraft.
The F35 is a vertical landing but not a vertical take off plane.
When taking off for a mission, the f35 is loaded with fuel and weapons and needs at least a little bit of runway. Plus taking off is harder than landing much as jumping off a 3 foot ledge is easier than jumping up to a 3 foot ledge power wise.
The f35 can vertically land and take off, but take off can only be done with very limited fuel and armament package with very little military potential.
In the words of Austin Powers “That’s a man baby!”
I wonder how hard it would be to put a cantilever deck and some catapults on that destroyer.