JS Izumo (DDH-183) Yokohama Port SDF Fleet Review, 18 October 2015
|Builder||IHI Marine United|
|Laid down||27 January 2012|
|Launched||6 August 2013|
|Commissioned||25 March 2015|
|Status||In active service|
|Class and type||Izumo-class multi-purpose operation destroyer|
|Length||248 m (813 ft 8 in)|
|Beam||38 m (124 ft 8 in)|
|Draft||7.5 m (24 ft 7 in)|
|Speed||More than 30 knots (35 mph; 56 km/h)|
|Complement||970 including crew and troops|
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
JS Izumo (DDH-183) is a helicopter carrier which, as of 2020, is being converted into a light aircraft carrier. Officially classified as a multi-purpose operation destroyer, she is the lead ship in the Izumo class of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). She is the second warship to be named for Izumo Province, with the previous ship being the armoured cruiser Izumo (1898).
The ruling Liberal Democrat Party announced in May 2018 that it favours converting Izumo to operate fixed-wing aircraft. The conversion was confirmed in December 2018 when Japan announced the change of its defense guidelines. Upon the completion of the process, Izumo will be the first Japanese aircraft carrier since World War II.
Design and construction
The construction of the first ship of the Izumo class began in 2011 at an IHI Marine United shipyard in Yokohama, with funding totalling 113.9 billion yen ($1.5 billion) being set aside in the fiscal 2010 budget for this purpose. 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.
Izumo, the largest Japanese naval vessel since World War II, was laid down on 27 January 2012 and launched on 6 August 2013. The ship began sea trials on 29 September 2014. The ship was commissioned on 25 March 2015.
The ship is as large as a Japanese carrier of Second World War-era. Izumo is called a destroyer because the Japanese constitution forbids the acquisition of offensive weapons, but the vessel allows Japan to project military power well beyond its territorial waters.
The ship can carry up to 28 aircraft, or 14 larger aircraft. Only seven ASW helicopters and two 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 five helicopter landing spots that allow simultaneous landings and take-offs.
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 Ministry of Defense nor the JMSDF have mentioned the possibility of introducing fixed-wing aircraft. The ship has neither a "ski-jump" nor a catapult, typical features for launching fixed-wing aircraft. If Izumo-class ships were to operate fixed-wing aircraft, they would be limited to STOVL (short take-off, vertical landing) aircraft. Japan has purchased the conventional version of the Lightning II (the F-35A) but may buy the STOVL version (the F-35B) which could be operated from a modified Izumo-class ship. In December 2018, it was announced that the Japanese government would change its defense guidelines and purchase about 40 F-35B fighters to operate them from both Izumo and her sister ship Kaga.
Izumo became operational in time to take part in a major August 2015 disaster drill conducted in Tokyo, alongside the Japan Coast Guard's large patrol vessel Izu. The two vessels acted as casualty receiving and triage stations during the exercise.[dead link]
In May 2017 Izumo was deployed to escort USNS Richard E. Byrd, a US supply vessel, to the area off Shikoku. Richard E. Byrd's mission was to refuel another US warship that was defending against North Korean missiles. This was the first time a Japanese vessel was deployed to escort a US ship since security legislation was enacted in March 2016. A small protest took place at Yokosuka after Izumo's departure, under the belief that the deployment of an aircraft carrier was a violation of Japan's defense-only policy. The destroyer Sazanami also joined the mission.
In 2020, Izumo began the conversion to operate F-35B fighter aircraft. Izumo was undergoing modifications, such as strengthening the heat resistance of the deck and installing power supply equipment to enable the departure and arrival of the F-35B. The renovation work to change the bow shape to a quadrangle for the safe operation of the F-35B and the maintenance of the interior compartments are scheduled to be carried out in the second renovation, starting from the end of 2024. There are no plans to install a catapult or a sloping runway.
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- Media related to JS Izumo (DDH-183) at Wikimedia Commons