Wednesday, August 07, 2013

To Be Fair, She Will Destroy Stuff

Izumo may be large with a flat deck and an island to the side, but she surely is not an aircraft carrier.

Just a helicopter destroyer:

Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier.

The ship, which has a flight deck that is nearly 250 meters (820 feet) long, is designed to carry up to 14 helicopters.

Sheer coincidence it looks like a carrier. Besides, there's no catapult and no ski-jump to help aircraft take off. So even if Japan gets jump-jet versions of the F-35, using those planes on Izumo will limit their radius and payload.

But a complement of helicopters make it useful for small landing operations, anti-submarine or anti-mine work, or even anti-ship work with anti-ship missiles on the choppers.

And the humanitarian stuff the Japanese mentioned, of course.

It also gives the Japanese practice with this type of ship should they want to scale up the class to face a foreign threat that uses large aircraft carriers. And a ski-jump bow could be added later. Heck, if the deck can handle the heat, wouldn't jet-assisted take-off work in an emergency?

Anyway, the Japanese have a fine navy should they need one. We'll be glad to have them holding that part of the ocean if the balloon goes up, I dare say.

UPDATE: More on the DDH from Global Security. It could possibly operate a dozen F-35B vertical take-off fighter-bombers.