Izumo-class destroyer

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DDH-183 いずも (11).jpg
JS Izumo (DDH-183)
Class overview
Name: Izumo class
Builders: Japan Marine United
Operators:  Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Preceded by: Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer
Cost: 113.9 billion yen ($1.2 billion for construction of first unit to date)
Built: 2012–2017
In commission: 2015–present
Planned: 2
Completed: 2
Active: 2
General characteristics
Type: ASW carrier/ Multi-purpose destroyer
  • 19,500 tonnes empty[1]
  • 27,000 tons full load[2]
Length: 248 m (814 ft)[1]
Beam: 38 m (125 ft)[1]
Draft: 7.5 m (25 ft)[1]
Depth: 33.5 m (110 ft)[1]
Installed power: 112,000 hp (84,000 kW)[1]
Speed: 30 kn (56 km/h)[1]
Complement: 970 including crew and troops[1]
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • ATECS (advanced technology command system)
  • OYQ-12 combat direction system
  • OPS-50 AESA radar
  • OPS-28 surface-search radar
  • OQQ-23 bow sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • NOLQ-3D-1 EW suite
  • Mark 36 SRBOC
  • Anti-torpedo mobile decoy (MOD)
  • Floating acoustic jammer (FAJ)
Aircraft carried:
  • 7 ASW helicopters and 2 SAR helicopters[1]
  • 28 aircraft maximum

The Izumo-class multi-purpose destroyer (いずも型護衛艦, Izumo-gata-goei-kan) or 22DDH is a class of de facto aircraft carriers originally ordered to operate as a helicopter carrier constructed for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). In late 2018 the class was predesignated as multi-purpose operation destroyers following the announcement that they would operate STOVL jets.[3] The ships of this class are currently the largest surface combatants of the JMSDF, taking over the mantle previously held by the Hyūga-class helicopter destroyers. The lead ship was officially unveiled at Yokohama on 6 August 2013.[4] On December 2018, the Japanese Cabinet gave approval to convert both ships into aircraft carriers capable of operating the F-35B.[5]


The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD) first announced plans for the class on 23 November 2009. This ship's primary mission is anti-submarine warfare (ASW) but peacekeeping and disaster relief operations are also being considered.[6]

The ship carries up to 28 aircraft.[7] However, only 7 ASW helicopters and 2 search and rescue (SAR) helicopters are planned for the initial aircraft complement. For other operations, 400 troops and 50 3.5 ton trucks (or equivalent equipment) can also be carried. The flight deck has 5 helicopter landing spots that allow simultaneous landings or take-offs. The ship is equipped with 2 Phalanx CIWS and 2 SeaRAM for its defense.[1] The destroyers of this class were initially intended to replace the two ships of the Shirane class, which were originally scheduled to begin decommissioning in FY2014.[6]

In 2010, Forecast International reported that some design features were intended to support fixed wing aircraft such as the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, although neither the MOD nor the JMSDF have mentioned the possibility of introducing carrier-based fixed-wing aircraft.[8] The ship has neither a "ski-jump" nor a catapult, typical features for launching fixed-wing aircraft.[9] If the Izumo class were to operate fixed-wing aircraft, they would be limited to those capable of STOVL (short take-off, vertical landing) operations.

The construction of the first ship of the class began in 2011 at an IHI Marine United shipyard in Yokohama,[10] with funding totalling 113.9 billion yen ($1.5 billion) being set aside in the fiscal 2010 budget for this purpose.

In December 2017, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the Japanese government was considering modifying its Izumo-class helicopter destroyers to operate with roughly 10 F-35B aircraft. Multiple plans are reportedly under consideration, some of which call for US Marine Corps F-35s to use the vessels, but others for Japan to procure its own aircraft.[11][12] The plan quickly raised criticism from China, where government officials reacted negatively and urged Japan to "act cautiously".[13][14]

Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said on 27 November 2018 that Tokyo is considering buying the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and, as a consequence of this, modifying both Izumo-class helicopter carriers to facilitate F-35B operations.[15]

On May 28 2019, President Donald Trump inspected Kaga, the second ship in the class, during his visit in Japan and supported the country's effort for an active role in the defense and security of the Pacific region. This was the first ever inspection by a U.S. president of a Japanese warship. Trump also stated that Kaga will help defend Japan and America against threats in the region and far beyond.[16]

Ships in the class[edit]

In September 2011, the Asahi Shinbun[17] reported that the Ministry of Defence was to proceed with a budget request calling for funds for the construction of the planned second unit in the class. The request was approved and the construction contract was awarded to IHI Corporation in October 2012.[18] This will come under the Defense Ministry's Mid-Term Defense Program FY2011-2015. The first ship in the class, Izumo was launched on 6 August 2013. The ship was commissioned on the 25th of March 2015.[19]

Izumo was named after Izumo Province (出雲国, Izumo no kuni) (present-day Shimane Prefecture), and Kaga after Kaga Province (加賀国, Kaga no kuni) (present-day Ishikawa Prefecture).

Pennant no. Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDH-183 Izumo 27th January 2012[20] 6 August 2013[21] 25 March 2015[7] Yokosuka, Kanagawa
DDH-184[22] Kaga 7 October 2013 27 August 2015 22 March 2017 Kure, Hiroshima

Future operational role[edit]

A view of Izumo.

On 6 August 2013, JS Izumo was unveiled in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan. Japanese officials claimed it would be used in national defense, specifically citing anti-submarine warfare and border-area surveillance missions. Additionally, it is also asserted to bolster Japan's ability to transport personnel and supplies in response to large-scale disasters. This unveiling occurred at a time of heightened tensions over the Senkaku Islands.[citation needed]

The Washington Post noted that this ship - the biggest warship in Japan's fleet since World War II - "has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier"[4] and has been described by the Chinese as an “aircraft-carrier in disguise”.[23] Though called a destroyer, some experts believe the new Japanese ship could potentially be used in the future to launch fighter jets (F-35B) or other fixed wing aircraft.[4][8][23] In December 2018, it was announced that both Izumo class warships would be refitted to carry F-35B fighter jets.[24]

Japanese military sources confirmed that the possibility of operating fixed wing aircraft was incorporated into the design of the ships from the earliest stages of the Izumo program, but this was not made public because Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution prohibits Japan from possessing offensive military weapons such as aircraft carriers. The aircraft elevators and the deck paint were designed to handle aircraft like the F-35B, and it would be possible to add a ski-jump to the flight deck for STOVL operations.[25][26][27][28]

In December 2017, Reuters reported that the Japanese government was contemplating modifying the Izumo class to operate F-35B STOVL aircraft.[29] Later, in February 2018, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Japan was planning to acquire 40 vertical takeoff and landing F-35Bs, which could be operated from these ships with some alterations.[30][31] In March that same year, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party called upon the Japanese government to develop its own aircraft carriers and operate F-35B aircraft, which has been thought to include refitting the Izumo class.[32] In November 2018, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Japan was planning to procure the F-35B within an order for an additional 100 F-35 aircraft.[33]

Fixed-wing aircraft carrier modification[edit]

On 18 December 2018, the Japanese Cabinet gave approval to modify the Izumo-class into de facto aircraft carriers.[5][34] The modifications will reinforce the decks of the Izumo-class ships to support the additional weight of F-35B jets, as well as the heat and forces from the jets during vertical landing.[5] The ruling parties re-designated the Izumo-class ships to multi-purpose operation destroyers.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "IHIMU、防衛省から平成22年度計画ヘリコプター搭載護衛艦を受注". Nikkei Shimbun. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  2. ^ 世界の艦船2012年1月号81ページ
  3. ^ a b "Japan avoids flak by refusing to call flattop 'aircraft carrier'". The Asahi Shimbun. 6 December 2018. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Japan unveils new carrier-like warship, the largest in its navy since World War II". 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Japan to have first aircraft carriers since World War II". CNN. December 18, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Ministry of Defense. "平成21年度政策評価書(事前の事業評価)" (PDF). Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b Hardy, James (25 March 2015). "Japan commissions helicopter carrier Izumo". janes.com. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  8. ^ a b Forecast International (21 June 2010). "Details of New Japanese 'Helicopter Destroyer'". Defensetalk.
  9. ^ Holm, Erik. "Japan launches biggest warship since WW2" (in Danish). Ingeniøren, 12 August 2013. Accessed: 12 August 2013.
  10. ^ "IHI、防衛省からヘリコプター搭載護衛艦を800億円で受注". Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun. 1 April 2011. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Govt eyes converting Izumo to aircraft carrier". The Japan Times (Yumiuri Shimbun). 26 December 2017. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  12. ^ Jennings, Gareth (27 December 2017). "Japan considers F-35B for carrier ops, national media reports". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  13. ^ Rahmat, Ridzwan (27 December 2017). "China urges Japan to 'act cautiously' on considerations to refit Izumo class for F-35Bs". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  14. ^ "China upset at Japan's plan to buy F-35B stealth fighter 'jump jets' for its helicopter carriers". news.com.au. 27 December 2017. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Japan considers procuring F-35B for its Izumo-class helicopter carriers | Jane's 360".
  16. ^ "Trump becomes first US leader to inspect Japanese warship in show of solidarity with Abe". Straits Times. 28 May 2019. Archived from the original on 30 May 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Defense Ministry plans second helicopter destroyer". asahi.com. 17 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  18. ^ IHIMU、防衛省からヘリ搭載護衛艦を受注 (in Japanese). October 1, 2012. Archived from the original on March 11, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  19. ^ Reynolds, Isabel (Mar 25, 2015). "Japan's Biggest Warship Since World War II Enters Service". Bloomberg. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  20. ^ 国内最大のヘリコプター搭載護衛艦の起工式を開催 Archived 2012-06-20 at the Wayback Machine, IHI Marine United, 27 January 2012
  21. ^ Maritime Staff Office (16 July 2013). 平成22年度護衛艦の命名・進水式について (PDF) (in Japanese). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Izumo class (22DDH) Helicopter Destroyer -JMSDF". navy-recognition.com. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Japanese security: Wide-mouthed frog". The Economist. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  24. ^ https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/18/asia/japan-aircraft-carriers-intl/index.html
  25. ^ https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-ship-that-dare-not-speak-its-name/
  26. ^ "MSDF helicopter flattop Izumo designed as aircraft carrier:The Asahi Shimbun".
  27. ^ "Officials Admit Japan's 'Helicopter Destroyers' Were Also Designed for Jets".
  28. ^ "Like the IZUMO Class? Just Wait for the Follow-on Class".
  29. ^ Kubo, Nobuhiro; Kelly, Tim (26 December 2017). "Japan considers refitting helicopter carrier for stealth fighters: government sources". Reuters. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  30. ^ "F-35B jets eyed to defend remote isles / Fighters also mulled for MSDF's Izumo ship". Yomiuri Shimbun. 12 February 2018. Archived from the original on 20 February 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  31. ^ "Japan Might Buy as Many as 40 F-35B Fighters, Report States". 2018-02-19.
  32. ^ https://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-seeks-to-answer-china-with-an-aircraft-carrier-1521534454
  33. ^ "Japan to order 100 more F-35 fighters from US". Nikkei Asian Review. Tokyo. 27 November 2018. Archived from the original on 27 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Japan gives nod to first aircraft carriers since WWII, says move does not violate pacifist Constitution". The Straits Times. 19 December 2018.

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