Saturday, March 28, 2015

Japan inducts latest helicopter carrier

(Tokyo) Japan has inaugurated its latest helicopter carrier, which is not only one of the largest ships it has ever inducted into the navy, but it looks surprisingly like an aircraft carrier, which its constitution forbids it from having. Anyway, that is besides the point as it is here, so let's have a look:

The first in class, JS Izumo DDH-183, for the Japanese Marittime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was launched on August 6, 2013 in Yokohama, Japan. The vessels are equipped with Phased Array Radars, full battle management capabilities, and link capabilities for cooperative engagements. They are also built to embark up to 500 troops and up to fifty vehicles. Currently they are designed to operate 9 helicopters, but Japan has on order 42 F-35A aircraft and it wouldn't be that hard for them to purchase either the F-35B or C in the future. It appears that the aggressive nature of the Chinese dragon has resulted in Japan tearing up the rule book in which to rearm. Something China isn’t happy about.

For self-defence, the Izumo is equipped with a couple of  Phalanx close-in weapon systems which in a nutshell is a six barrel Gatling gun which fires around 4500 rounds a minute in the direction of any incoming attack (be it aircraft/missile or seaborne). The result being the target is shredded. This is supplemented by a couple of Sea-Ram missile systems. This uses the same radar and optical systems of the Phalanx but is linked to an 11 round RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile system which is designed to hit targets up to 11 kms away. However, the ship's armament would be a last resort as they would be escorted by any number of Japanese Aegis class destroyers which rank amongst the most modern and advanced ships in their class.