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Japan Commissions Largest Warship Since World War II

An undated photo of JS Izumo (DDH-183) underway. The ship commissioned on March 25, 2015. JMSDF Photo

An undated photo of JS Izumo (DDH-183) underway. The ship commissioned on March 25, 2015. JMSDF Photo

A 24,000-ton helicopter carrier has formally entered the fleet of Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) on Wednesday making the ship the largest warship Japan has fielded since the close of World War II.

The commissioning ceremony JS Izumo (DDH-183) — the first of two for the JMSDF — was held in Yokohama and attended by Defense Minister Gen Nakatani.

Billed by the Japanese as a platform to assist in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) operations, the ship has flared regional tensions in neighbors— China especially — who view the ship as a power projection platform with a historically aggressive name.

“The original Izumo, an armored cruiser that participated in the Battle of Tsushima, was purchased with reparations from the first Sino-Japanese War,” wrote USNI News contributor Kyle Mizokami in 2013.

“There is little doubt all parties, particularly the Chinese, are aware of the lineage.”

Japanese paper, Asahi Shimbum, quoted an unnamed JMSDF official saying the ship would be of particular help against the growing number of Chinese submarines.


“This heightens our ability to deal with Chinese submarines that have become more difficult to detect,” the officer told the paper.

The ships can field up to seven Mitsubishi-built SH-60k ASW helicopters and seven AgustaWestland MCM-101 mine countermeasure (MCM) helicopters and carry up to 400 troops, according to U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World.

The ship would also be able to field American MV-22s and potentially the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), however Japanese defense officials have repeatedly said they have no plans to use the JSF on the Izumo.

The second ship in the class — the unnamed DDH-184 — is currently under construction at IHI Marine United shipyard in Yokohama and is planned to enter the JMSDF fleet in 2017.

Izumo will join two 18,300-ton Hyuga-class helicopter carriers already in commission.

The ship will be based in at the naval base in Yokosuka, also the home of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

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  • Jeff

    Congratulations to the crew of JS Izumo!

  • ChiChiChiba

    Best way to combat subs is with other subs. This thing is a floating target!

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  • How much are you all willing to wager, that Japan will ask the US for the F-35B, MH-60R and the V-22.

    • muzzleloader

      The V-22 is already on order, and I am sure the F-35 will be in Japan’s future.

    • Secundius

      @ Nicky.

      Japan has ask for, and are getting six F/A-35A’s for their Air Force. But at the present time, NO F/AV-35B’s. The MH-60R’s, are locally produced by Mitsubishi SH-60J/K Seahawk’s and UH-60J/JA Black Hawk’s. They want the MV-22C Osprey, as long as if their allow to build the Aircraft locally. Their also interested in the Augusta/Westland AW.609 design, too…

      • I’m willing to wager that Japan in the next 10 to 15 years that they maybe asking for the F-35B

        • Secundius

          @ Nicky.

          One reason the Japanese aren’t buying F/AV-35B’s for their Through-Deck Destroyers, is they have NO Fixed-Wing Jet qualified Pilot’s in the JSDF(Navy)…

          • Eventually, I think Japan may by surface strike Helicopters

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky.

            There is a Artist Concept, of Navalized version of AH-64 Apache. Called the SH-64 Sea Apache The only differences in the two designs, is the Tail Wheel is moved forward of the aircraft fusealage. Like comparing the Blackhawk with the Seahawk…

          • That maybe the way to go for Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Australia. Who have LHD/LHA

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky.

            Depend’s on what you parameter’s are in defining an LHA/LPD class is. Australia, the Canberra class LHD, France’s, Mistral class AAS, UK’s, Ocean class LHP…

          • It all depends on the mission

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky.

            The DDG-183, JNS. Izumo is a Through-Deck Destroyer, with a Large Flight Deck but no Well Deck or Vehicle Storeage Facilities. The America/Wasp/San Antonio/classes are LPD, because they all share the same characteristics. Flight Deck, Hanger Bay, Vehicle Deck, Hospital Section, and Marine Barracks. But, ironically many other Navies ship’s share the same characteristics. But are NOT class Assault Ships, Even the Freedom/Independence/Spearhead classes share them as well. So, you kinda Painting With A Very Big Brush…

          • What the JNS. Izumo is akin to is the USS America and the America class LHA

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky.

            Izumo, like all other Destroyer’s is an Independent Warfighter. The America, is NOT, America, needs other’s to Protect her from Harms Way. Izumo, DOESN’T…

          • Then again Japan as not developed a capable carrier battle group or Amphibious expeditionary group that the US has.

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky

            The Izumo, was designed to be a Destroyer, First. And a “Over Glorified Sea & Rescue Ship”, Second. It was NEVER meant to serve or perform Amphibious Operations…

          • That’s why the Izumo is akin to the America class LHA that doesn’t have well decks. Just look at the USS America, the Izumo is the same thing.

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky.

            Hey Nicky, sorry it took so long to get back to you. I did some reading on the Izumo class Helicopter Carrier, and what I found out was Mind Blowing. Technically classified as a ASW Destroyer, she’s even LESS capable then the America class. She’s a “Sheep, In Wolf’s Clothing”, 570 crew plus capable of carrying 400 Japanese Marines and up to 50 Light Vehicles with NO heavy Airlift assets in her Air Group of 7-ASW helicopters and 2-SAR helicopters. But capable of Landing and Refueling 28-Helicopter, but NOT supporting them. At 27,000-tons gross, she’s basically “Eye Candy”, that can’t even defend herself in a fight. The Largest Guns on her, are the two Mk.15 Phalanx CIWS 6×20/102mm guns and some ASW assets…

          • The Izumo class Helicopter Carrier is dependent on her escorts for protection.

          • Secundius

            @ Nicky.

            I’m not sure, one of the Ship’s roles is Rescue Operations and Disaster Relief Add of the Japanese Islands in cases of Earthquakes and other Natural Disaster’s. So, I assuming she’s going to be more of a “Home-Water Green-Water Ship” than a “Blue-Water” one. Which probable means, JSDF Air Force protection. If she goes “Blue-Water”. it’ll probably to show off the “Flag”. Only two are to be built, so it kinda limits any practical values she has to offer…

          • Then again most LHA/LHD’s travel like a carrier battle group

  • publius_maximus_III

    She’s a beauty.

  • Phak Ov

    good, now the japanese will be able to launch another attack on pearl harbor

  • olesalt

    One word to describe the new carrier “FANTASTIC”. BZ JMSDF.

  • CaptainParker

    Hmmm…I’d say the Kido Butai is rising like a phoenix…and this time they are on the side of the good guys. These ships are bigger than three-quarters of Japan’s WWII carriers.

    • Secundius

      @ CaptainParker.

      But look at what you had to work with. Even by American Standard, Japanses Aircraft Carrier’s of WW2 were Crude. Damage Control, was virtually nonexistant, Comfort for Crew, also nonexistant. They built their ship’s to get the job done, the Crew well being was a mute subject…

      • CaptainParker

        Crew comfort was never a factor in Imperial Navy warships though the two Tone class cruisers were said to have the best crew accommodations in the entire fleet. The two Shokaku’s were deemed the best carriers in the world until our Essex class entered the battle zone. They could take significant battle damage as was demonstrated at Coral Sea.

        • Secundius

          @ CaptainParker.

          Probably so, but their Damage Control “Suck’s”. On USN ship’s “Burning Area’s” of the ship were flooded with CO2 gas to smother out the flames. While “Axis” ship’s flood the area’s with “Sea Water”, and once flooded with no way to pump the water, until they got to a friendly port. To cut holes in the ship to pump out the water…

  • Secundius

    While the US. Navy, tend’s to “Think Outside the BOX” in building Destroyer’s. The Japanese, tend to “Think Outside the CUBE” in building Through-Deck Destroyer’s. Destroyer’s while actually NOT designed to be Light Carriers, but can act as Light Carriers when needed…

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  • Charles Nash

    With Jjapan’s history of exceptional naval skill – dating back to crushing two Russian fleets – I am glad they are on our side.

  • William Ford

    Beautiful Ship…

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