Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Japan's New Izumo Carrier Gets Commissioned

After lengthy sea trials, the JMSDF commissioned it's newest class of "Helicopter Destroyer" carrier DDH-181 Izumo in a formal ceremony atop her decks on March 25th, 2015. The Izumo is one of two scheduled ships of her size and class to be built for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. The Izumo is the exact size of the WWII IJN Carrier Shokaku. What separates the Izumo from other aircraft carriers is the absence of a steam catapult or ski-lift. However this does not stop the Izumo from carrying STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) aircraft such as the proposed F-35B variant of the F-35 II Lightening. 
All fixed wing aircraft debates aside, the Izumo will carry up to 25 aircraft. She is planned to carry up to 9 V-22 Ospreys, 7 ASW helicopters, and 2 SAR helicopters. The Izumo comes fully loaded with an electronic suite, antisubmarine gear, 2 phalanx guns, and 2 SeaRam Close in weapon systems making her a formidable weapons platform for the 21st Century. 
So now that you got your commission, what are you going to do next? Well, for the Izumo it's six months of training out of her home port at Yokosuka than off to her first patrol doing surveillance. While the Izumo may appear small next to the US Navy's Nimitz Carriers, she carries enough firepower and equipment to provide a variety of missions from humanitarian to peacekeeping. While the debate will continue on the part of PM Shinzo Abe as to the need to scrap Article 9's provisions limiting Japan's defense forces, we at American Mishima hope to see Japan one day have a fixed wing aircraft carrier of her own to help provide more security in the region and continue to play an ample role in our continued military alliance. Until that time we wish the Captain and the crew of the Izumo a big Ganbarre and may she keep Japan safe.

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