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1 avril 2015 3 01 /04 /avril /2015 11:35
JDS Izumo DDH183 helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD

JDS Izumo DDH183 helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD


March 28, 2015 By Franz-Stefan Gady – The Diplomat


Japan now has all the building blocks to field a powerful carrier strike group.


This week, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force commissioned the JDS Izumo (DDH-183), a helicopter destroyer, in a ceremony at the JMSDF Yokosuka naval base in Yokohama.

The new carrier’s principal task, although touted as a multi-purpose vessel, will be anti-submarine warfare and command-and-control operations to protect Japanese territories in the East China Sea.

“This heightens our ability to deal with Chinese submarines that have become more difficult to detect,” one Japanese official noted. According to other  JMSDF officials, the ship will also be used for humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) operations.

With a 27,000 tons displacement when fully loaded (some sources state 24,000 tons), the 248 m-long  Izumo-class helicopter carrier is the largest surface combatant in the Japanese fleet to date, and substantially bigger than its predecessor, the Hyūga-class, which yielded 19,000 tons.

The ship will have a crew of around 470 and also can carry up to 400 JSDF troops.  IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes about the vessels’s specifications:

Izumo is equipped with an OQQ-22 bow-mounted sonar for submarine prosecution while air defence is provided by two Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile SeaRAM launchers and two Phalanx close-in weapon systems. (…)

[I]t can embark Sikorsky/Mitsubishi SH-60K Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopters and the Izumo class’s air wing will also include two airborne mine countermeasures versions of the Kawasaki Heavy Industries/AgustaWestland MCH-101 helicopter – JMSDF officials claim that the ship will be deployed mainly for border surveillance and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. (..) Officials in Tokyo have also suggested it will embark Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The ship is designed to accommodate up to 14 helicopters (seven Mitsubishi-built SH-60k ASW helicopters and seven Agusta Westland MCM-101 mine countermeasure helicopters), five of which can simultaneously take off and land, given the Izumo’s large flight deck and five landing spots.

USNI News notes that the Izumo could also accommodate fixed wing aircraft – perhaps up to 27 total:

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 new carrier is slightly larger than other light carriers, such as the Italian Cavour and the Spanish Principe de Asturias – both of which carry fixed wing aircraft. Total costs of the ship are billed at about 120 billion yen ($1 billion), although they may be as high as $ 1.5 billion.

The naming of the vessel caused some controversy. “[T]he name Izumo itself has historical baggage: the original Izumo, an armored cruiser that participated in the Battle of Tsushima, was purchased with reparations from the first Sino-Japanese War. There is little doubt all parties, particularly the Chinese, are aware of the lineage,” one analyst noted.

The new carrier joined the MSDF’s Escort Flotilla 1 based in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. The JS Izumo’s sister ship, also constructed by the IHI Marine United Yokohama Shipyard (which already built the Hyūga-class helicopter destroyers), will be launched this August and is scheduled to be commissioned in March 2017.

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1 avril 2015 3 01 /04 /avril /2015 07:35
JDS Izumo helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD

JDS Izumo helicopter carrier - photo Japan MoD


March 26, 2015 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Beijing - China dismissed Japanese concerns about its defence spending as "ridiculous" on Thursday after Tokyo commissioned its biggest-ever helicopter carrier.


Both sides are boosting their military budgets as they grow increasingly wary of each other's ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region, facing off over a maritime territorial dispute and how to interpret Japan's motivations and actions during World War II.


Japan is uneasy about what it sees as China's growing assertiveness, including through regular double-digit increases in its defence spending, and on Wednesday commissioned its biggest warship since World War II, the helicopter carrier Izumo.


The 248-metre (810-feet) Japanese-built vessel can carry nine helicopters and is aimed at beefing up Tokyo's maritime defences in the East China Sea.


In 2012, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and has said its plans more.


Tokyo has repeatedly called on Beijing to be more transparent about its military outlays but Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying hit back, saying that despite Japan's far smaller number of people it spends a hefty amount on defence.


"Japan's population accounts for only about one-tenth that of China," Hua told a regular briefing on Thursday.


"But its per capita national defence spending is about five times that of China," she added.


"Given this, Japan's criticism of China's national defence is quite ridiculous."


It was unclear on what figures Hua based her comparison.


Earlier this month China unveiled a military budget of 886.9 billion yuan ($142.9 billion) for 2015. With a population of 1.37 billion, that equates to about $104 per person.


Japan's defence spending for fiscal 2015 has been set at 4.98 trillion yen ($42.1 billion), or about $329 per capita, just over three times as much as China.


Kyodo news agency said the Izumo cost around 120 billion yen.


Beijing is suspicious of moves by Tokyo to increase its defence profile under nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has called for his country to throw off the constraints of its "peace" constitution imposed by the United States after World War II, which ended 70 years ago this year.


Asked about the Izumo, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a monthly briefing on Thursday: "Due to historical reasons, any move or actions by Japan in the military and security field is worth the vigilance of its Asian neighbours."


Separately, Geng criticised reported comments by the commander of the US Seventh Fleet suggesting it would back efforts by Southeast Asian nations to form a combined maritime force to patrol areas of the South China Sea.


China claims almost all of the South China Sea, a position that conflicts with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as with Taiwan.


US officials have called for a multilateral agreement to end all actions that risk further inflaming tensions in the region, which includes US allies.


"If ASEAN members were to take the lead in organising something along those lines, trust me, the US 7th Fleet would be ready to support," Bloomberg News quoted Vice Admiral Robert Thomas as saying.


"We urge the US side to stop making irresponsible remarks", Geng said, adding it should "respect the efforts made by the relevant countries in finding a peaceful solution" to the issue.


"We hope that the United States will stop their provocative remarks and actions."

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