A new warship is commissioned by the Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The Izumo Helicopter Carrier (or Helicopter Destroyer) いずも型護衛艦 is a multi-functional warship by far the largest ship in service by the JMSDF since the second world-war. The production cost was over $1.5 billion and has a displacement of 19,500 tons with 248 meters (814 feet) long. The construction of this ship does not only offer new tactical capabilities to Japanese Navy but also added important new technical and engineering know-how in the area of design and development of carriers. The Izumo name refers to a province in Honshu island and in Japanese mythology it means the entrance of yomi (hell).
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The submarine warfare. Technologically the new Izumu warship represents an advanced platform to search for submarines. Compared with current ships in service, the Izumo will allow searches over larger areas. It carriers 9 helicopters and five of them can take-off simultaneous from its deck. Because of the increasing number of Chinese Navy submarines operating in south east pacific waters, the Izumu capabilities will offer new strengths to address the asymmetric forces.
The tactical role in the pacific. Besides the anti-submarine capability, the Izumu offers interesting and powerful tactical solutions for the complex south pacific scenario. It has received the flight certification and compliance to operate V-22 Osprey which may allow to transport and more than 250 fully equipped men over any island of the pacific in short period of time. This represents a huge improvement on the airmobile capability of the JMSDF.
The future carrier role. The Japanese Constitution does not allow to purchase, to construct or to operate offensive weapons. That is why in principle, the Izumo will have a helicopter carrier role rather than an offensive full carrier capability. The Izumu does not have a catapult necessary to launch fixed-wing fighters. However, if necessary experts reported that it might operate a planned vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) planes. For example, if the F-35 was bought by Japan, it could be potentially deployed of the and operate from the Izumo’s flight deck. Another warship with similar capabilities is planned to be launched and commissioned by the JMSDF in 2018.
A new unit DDH-184 similar to the Izumo Destroyer is under construction. The DDH-184 has been laid down on 7th October 2014, will be launched in August 2015 and Commissioned in expected on March 2017.