Japan unveils Izumo, its largest warship since World War II

130806184335-01-izumo-horizontal-large-gallery(CNN)Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has taken delivery of the Izumo, the largest Japanese military vessel to see service since World War II.

The warship was unveiled at a ceremony at the Yokusuka naval base near Yokohama, also home to the U.S Navy’s Seventh Fleet.

The Izumo has a crew of 470, and with a standard displacement of 19,500 tones (24,000 tonnes at full load, according to military publication Jane’s), it is as large as the storied Yamato-class battleships which fought U.S. naval forces in the Pacific theater of World War II.

The wreck of one of the two Yamato-class battleships, the Musashi, was discovered early in March 2015 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

At 241 meters (791 feet) in length, the Izumo is 51 meters (167 ft) longer than the Hyuga, another helicopter carrier which was, until now, the MDSF’s largest vessel.

Violating the constitution?

Regional neighbors and rivals questioned the legitimacy of such a ship for purely defensive purposes, pointing out that, due to its size and deck configuration it could be repurposed as an aircraft carrier — a class banned under Japan’s pacifist constitution.

“The Izumo proves that Japan has the technical capabilities and demand to develop aircraft carriers. It’s also possible that Japan may explore the possibility during the Izumo’s service,” Li Jie, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Chinese state-backed Global Times newspaper.

However, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani told reporters in Yokohama that the MSDF did not intend to use it in this way.

“We are not thinking about using this as an aircraft carrier,” he said, saying that the lack of hangers and service bays, along with a deck unsuitable for takeoffs and landings, meant that the Izumo wasn’t designed for fixed-wing aircraft.

He said that it needed to be as large as it is so it could host joint operations and act as a command center. He insisted that the new addition to Japan’s maritime forces was designed for peaceful purposes.

“The vessel can serve in a wide range of roles including peacekeeping operations, international disaster relief and aid.”

Sub hunter

He added that its helicopter capabilities — it can host seven anti-submarine patrol helicopters, plus two rescue and transport helicopters, the Japan Times reported — would aid in the detection of sophisticated Chinese submarines.

Categories: News, World
Tags: Asia

About Author

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*