Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Izumo worked with HMS Argyll to hunt down a US Navy submarine, say the Royal Navy.

“Sharing the Royal Navy’s expertise and experience with our partners and allies right across the world emphasizes the UK’s commitment to promoting international security and stability,” said Commander Toby Shaughnessy, Commanding Officer of HMS Argyll, in a news release.

As part of the exercises, Izumo and Argyll both deployed helicopters to hunt the submarine say the Royal Navy.

The Type 23’s Wildcat was loaded with a Test Variant Torpedo (TVT) by 208 Flight before launching off Argyll’s deck to step up the search for the US submarine. The Japanese also sent up their anti-submarine Seahawk helicopters alongside a Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

“Given the increase in maritime traffic worldwide and current events, the importance of increased collaboration and cooperation between our three highly capable and like-minded services can’t be overstated,” said Captain Katsuyoshi Motoyama, Commander of Izumo.

Argyll is currently on a nine-month deployment and following these exercises came alongside at US Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan.

Japanese media recently reported that helicopter carrier JS Izumo, the lead ship of the Izumo class, will be converted into an aircraft carrier capable of operating F-35B jets.

Japan also recently increased its order of F-35s, making the country the second largest operator behind the United States, a spot previously held by the United Kingdom.

Image result for japanese aircraft carriers 2016
The Izumo class aren’t small.

According to Aaron Mehta at DefenseNews here:

“Tokyo previously planned to procure 42 F-35A models. However, a source close to the program confirmed that Japan will be adding 63 F-35A models, as well as 42 F-35B models, for a total of 147 F-35 fighters.”

Izumo beside other F-35B capable vessels (fan made).

The National Defense Program Guidelines, which set out the aims and capability targets over a period of about 10 years for Japanese forces, state that the government will “enable fighter jets to be operated from existing warships, if necessary, to improve the flexibility of their operation”, say local media.

It was also reported that JS Izumo is to be redesignated as a multi-purpose escort destroyer to comply with Japan’s pacifist constitution that limits JSDF capabilities to self-defense.

“The Izumo was originally designed as a multipurpose escort ship, so it wouldn’t pose any threat to other countries if fighter jets are deployed on it,” Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya was quoted as saying by The Japan Times on December the 11th.

Iwaya also reiterated that the warship would not be an “attack aircraft carrier” capable of offensive military operations, although it’s hard to see how that distinction can be made. As we reported recently, before this March 20th confirmation, conversion of the existing Izumo class helicopter carriers was rumoured as an option for the F-35Bs Japan wants to purchase.

The 248-metre long Izumo, Japan’s largest warship equipped with a flat flight deck, was designed with an eye to hosting F-35B fighters. Its elevator connecting the deck with the hangar can carry the aircraft.

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Harry Bulpit

we really should develop a sonar system for the wildcat. one that can be taken of and on in a short while. would make the aircraft massively more useful and free up the Merlin Fleet.


There already is a dipping sonar integrated with the AW159, the Thales FLASH.

South Korean AW159 can be fitted with the dipping sonar and sonobuoys.

Allowing the fitment of the Thales FLASH as well as installing a datalink is the two shortfalls that should be fixed with UK AW159!

Harry Bulpit

I thought the sputh Korea wildcat was fitted permanently with it?


George, you realise that image showing the three ships is a photoshop? And does not probably show the correct proportion.

Look at the water around the Izumo. There is a clear difference between the the water around the Izumo and rest of the image.


Japanese long-term thinking:
The 248-metre long Izumo, Japan’s largest warship equipped with a flat flight deck, was designed with an eye to hosting F-35B fighters. Its elevator connecting the deck with the hangar can carry the aircraft.

British Long-term thinking
How cheap can we build it for and how long before we can sell it for a profit?

Chris J

Do you understand that comments like this make you look incredibly foolish/someone with an anti-UK axe to grind? It’s a shame as you occasionally have things to say that make sense. I mostly just ignore your comments now.

Steve R

To be fair he’s not farwrong concerning UK government thinking. It’s not anti UK so much as that the government don’t care about defence or it’s sustainability; they’re just looking at meeting the budget without thinking of mid to long term.

Robert Blay

But we arnt selling off a new carrier are we, so there’s no problem.

Daniele Mandelli

Chris J to me that was sarcasm from farouk about the widely held view of the way HMG conduct themselves with defence.

I’d also suggest that he is one of the last people here with an axe to grind with the UK considering some of the stories of the abuse he’s had.

Some of what he says makes me damn proud actually, that, as one of his background, he accepts the UK as his home and his people.

Unlike many.


Serious case of post-holiday blues in this post. I don’t think you’re being fair at all: QEC requirements explicitly stated the need to size the hangar to cater for chinook and osprey (f35 and merlin being givens). I wasn’t involved but having done similar things, I believe there is a high likelihood that the resulting height (and therefore beam, draught, damaged stability etc) drove a significant proportion of the design (read: cost). From what little has come out in the public domain, and niggles aside, it sounds like this future-proofing has been achieved without compromising the vessels characteristics at all,… Read more »

David Steeper

Guys aircraft carriers and there respective capabilities are complicated. The QE’s have been designed around sustained sortie rate. Judging by air group size doesn’t tell the tale. Ask the French. The QE’s are the most powerful carriers on the planet bar the US CVN’s. Ask anyone.


Alas it is not a simple task to fit a sonar unit 6to a wildcat. The sonar body and winch system is easy enough, it is the additional processing avionics, increase in power generation, cabling, crew position, sonar bouy stowage ( can’t just operate active dipping sonar). This takes up significant space and weight. The reason why the ASW Merlin is so much larger than the Mk6 Sea King is for these reasons. Some other nations use dipping sonar in smaller helicopters, however these are usually simply drone rolled helos that transmit data back to the command ship for processing,… Read more »


They had one of these next to a Wildcat on the static display at Yeovilton air day last summer. I asked one of the aircrew (a trainee mind you) what it was and he said he’d ‘go and find out then let me know’……



@Basil whilst I get the advantage of a independent platform, if we are short on air frames and so don’t have a Merlin available for every frigate and destroyer, we need to think creative and work a way to get the wildcats to atlesst be semi effectivs hunters, either that or buy more merlins.

captain P Wash.

I would be Interested In how they got on finding the Sub.


I can see one in the picture.

captain P Wash.



many years ago we were pinging away for days with mark 5 Sea Kings off Norway hunting for a sub, almost to the point of running out of sonobouys, we were somewhat “upset” when an observer in a AEW Sea King returning to Illustrious, looked out of his window and saw the subs masts !! Our premier ASW squadron was hounded for weeks after that!!!

Steve Taylor

That’s interesting. 🙂

If he spotted it with Mk 1 eyeball surely he should have been asked why the Searchwater hadn’t spotted the masts? 😉


It’s a pity we could not show our allies in the Far East our full ASW capability with Merlin and sonar 2087.

As for Japanese defence planning vs UK, until recently much of their armed forces were as much about job creation as anything else. However they are quickly getting very serious very fast due to the giant threat in their back garden. The UK continues to operate the very best ASW capability on the planet and it’s a credit to the RN they were able to maintain this post Cold War while others including the USN dropped the ball.


Searchwater shut down, aircraft transiting home to mother, you don’t transmit near your assets in order to maintain cover. I do agree we need more Merlin’s, just like I feel it was a mistake to remove TA from some of the T23, fitting ASW to Wildcat is not the answer even in the short-term.


This is kinda half a story….. which class of US sub… and more importantly, did we manage to locate it ?

captain P Wash.

My Point Exactly.