Japan yesterday unveiled the largest ship in its fleet since World War II. The 19,500-ton Izumo can carry up to 14 helicopters.
Because Japan's constitution prohibits it from building up a military beyond what's necessary for self-defense, the country is referring to its new helicopter carrier as a "helicopter destroyer" (carrier ships are capable of attacking coastal cities; destroyers are limited to fighting at sea).
Izumo is larger and can carry three more helicopters than the Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers, the previous largest ships in Japan's fleet. For comparison, both are only a fraction of the size of a fully loaded American Nimitz-class carrier, which weighs in a 97,000 tons.
The Izumo's ability to transport helicopters quickly over water will be crucial to rescue missions and disaster relief. But that doesn't mean the Izumo lacks military capability, as helicopters are useful for anti-submarine warfare and bring great surveillance powers to Japan's military.
Of course, helicopters aren't what make this news, really. There's one fighter currently in production that might work from a helicopter carrier, and that possibility is getting a lot of attention from people worried about strained relations between Japan and China. The big question about the Izumo is whether or not it can carry the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) variant of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
In the past, helicopter-like VTOL V-22 Ospreys have successfully landed on Japan's smaller Hyuga-class helicopter carriers, but it's unclear whether the Izumo could launch an F-35B. To take off vertically, the F-35B sends exhaust from its jet engines straight down, which lifts the plane and also melts the helicopter landing pad. (The U.S. Marine Corp is reinforcing helicopter landing pads in preparation for this technology.) Plus, a carrier needs large, strong elevators to lift a craft like the F-35B from hangar to deck, and again, it's uncertain whether the Izumo's elevators would be up for the task.
Watch video of the unveiling below:
"it's uncertain whether the Izumo's elevators would be up for the task."
In an era where ships simply cannot be adequately protected from missile technology, it's unwise to build bigger ships than you need. Using logic with naval types isn't always smart because jobs and politics are definitely cooked into the miso soup, but I'd say its a safe bet the ship was designed with jets in mind.
We don't follow our constitution, why should they?
I think the answer lies in finding out what the flat area on top looks like - get busy, reconnaissance!
The Izumo is, without a doubt, a Japanese Naval response to the increasing power of the Chinese Navy, especially since their first Aircraft Carrier became active at the end of last year. Even if it is for training purposes, there are 2 other Aircraft Carriers under construction by that navy which will play an active role in their fleet.
I also have few doubts that the Izumo was built to carry VTOL fighters if the situation called for it, especially the F-35B that Japan plans on buying once the program goes into production. Those F-35s would be very capable of holding their own against the new Chinese J-15 fighters, which is why China has complained about this new carrier.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we could be looking at a whole new Cold War here.
uptil I looked at the paycheck which was of $6148, I didn't believe ...that...my mother in law was like actualy bringing home money part-time at there labtop.. there uncle has done this for only 6 months and just now paid for the mortgage on their home and bourt a brand new Toyota. we looked here,
Fun speculation -- as opposed to a few of PopSci's 'Mother Jones' type entries. (At least one of which was locked for comments).
But, fun aside, it would be very surprising if there are any plans for F-35Bs with this ship. Many issues make the whole concept quite a stretch.
"I think the answer lies in finding out what the flat area on top looks like - get busy, reconnaissance!"
I think you are confusing China (not our ally) with Japan (our ally). No need for reconnaissance, US Navy can
ask to go onboard. They will probably share the same home port of Yokosuka. If you've ever been there the US 7th Fleet including a Nuclear Carrier lies pretty much next to the Japanese Maritime Self-defence Force (their politically correct term for "Navy")vessels.
But even that's not necessary since whatever needs to be known about this ship is already known. Did you know it has the Phalanx missile system made by Raytheon. And GE turbines?
There is no doubt whatsoever that this shop was built with theF-35B in mind for the future. If it can't handle them now it will with minor modifications, just like the US Navy.
That it's being kept quiet is solely for political purposes as the Japanese are in he midst of amending their constitution to allow them to have an "aircraft carrier".
Plenty of time on both fronts until 2017 when this "Izumo" is scheduled to go into service.
@ Gene Sassersky-
I do know the political difference between China and Japan-I was being comedically macroscopic and referring to any interested party, be they friend, foe, or otherwise. No, I don't know what systems it has, or who built them. I probably would have known 35 years ago when I signed up for the Navy (I was on a nuke sub back then, & assigned w/ COMSUBPAC, but I've lost track of all that stuff since then) Phalanx is the only system you mentioned that even sounded familiar!
Call it whatever you like. It sure looks like a carrier. Add to that the curious lack of any views of the flight deck, and its steam catapults, (oh, wait, it doesn't really have those, the slots are rain gutters, and the deck flush cat officer observation dome is really for inspecting tires on helicopters) and blast gates (oh wait, those are backstops for racquetball) and you see a carrier.