Aircraft Carrier Conversion of Japan Begins

Aircraft Carrier Conversion of Japan Begins 3 July, 2020

Japan, which can have neither deep-strike capable armed forces nor an aircraft carrier due to law restrictions, has begun the upgrade of the Izumo-class helicopter destroyers.

Japan has announced the start of the necessary upgrade works for the F-35B Lightning II operation of the Izumo class JS Izumo (DDH 183) and JS Kaga (DDH 184) helicopter destroyers. Tokyo will thus have ship-based fixed-wing air force for the first time since WWII. Platforms that are not specified to integrate components such as arresting gear systems or catapult equipment will become compatible with the use of the STOVL capable F-35B Lightning II. In this context, improvements will be made in deck structural components of Izumo class ships to provide resistance to the heavyweight of F-35Bs. In addition, the flight deck will be modified with components with higher heat resistance, so that the aircraft directing the hot air from the engine nozzle directly to the ground does may harm the coatings during landing and take-off. This will enable Japan to transport fixed-wing air force to distant islands, whose sovereignty rights are disputed.

Due to the heavy laws enacted after the Second World War, Japan could not have ships with a structure that allowed the use of fixed-wing aerial platforms. For this reason, the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) describes the Izumos as helicopter destroyers. It is seen as a preliminary preparation for aircraft ships with higher displacement and capability, which are likely to be laid down in the following years. China's rapidly increasing naval and aircraft carrier power in the region seen as a reason for that.

Aircraft Carrier Conversion of Japan Begins

Issue 86