Japan get new ‘aircraft carrier’
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) commissioned its latest vessel on 25 March – the 27,000 ton full load displacement ‘helicopter-capable destroyer JDS Izumo (DDH-183), the largest warship built for Japan since WWII. Built by domestic shipbuilder IHI Marine United in Yokohama, the 248m x 38m vessel is homeported at the Yokosuka Naval Base, near Tokyo and is the first of two sisterships building for the (MSDF).
Although classed as a destroyer the vessel is in fact an aircraft carrier – having the capacity to carry a maximum of 28 aircraft, although it is initially planned for Izumo to carry just five Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopters and two Search & Rescue (SAR) helicopters.
Izumo is powered by a COGAG (combined gas turbine and gas turbine) system comprising four GE/IHI 2500IEC gas turbines giving a speed in excess of 30 knots.
Izumo has joined two slightly smaller, 18,000 ton full load displacement ‘helicopter capable destroyers’ operated by the MSDF, the JDS Hyuga (DDH 181) and JDS Ise (DDH 182), both built by IHI Marine United and commissioned in 2009 and 2011.
Izumo and her as yet unnamed sistership, have been designed to replace the two Shirane-class destroyers JDS Shirane (DDH 143) and JDS Kurama (DDH 144), which were commissioned in 1980 and 1981.
Japan is actively seeking to loosen the restraints on the Country’s pacifist constitution as it builds up its defence capabilities – a move that is worrying neighbour China.