Japanese media have 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.

This news came to light after Japan’s new draft defence plan was published on December the 11th.

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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David Steeper
Guest

This reminds me of the Invincibles back in the late sixties early seventies. Don’t know what the original J Navy classification was but it would be cool if it translated to through-deck cruiser !

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

i think this was the plan all along.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

WITH THE CURRENT SIZE OF THE JAPANESE NAVY, DO THEY NEED IT?

Graham
Guest
Graham

Absolutely, upgrading the Izumo from what was (for all intends and purposes) a helicopter carrier to a light aircraft carrier adds a major new capability to the JMSDF. The ability to operate VSTOL aircraft from a light carrier and / or from the many ‘disputed’ Islands with only limited airfields is nothing short of a game changer. This is a defensive move to counter the massive ‘offensive’ expansion of the PLA. It also gives the RN another carrier capable F-35B partner to exercise with.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

a counter to the chinese expansion policy has to be welcome, will they get’ramps?

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

Their version was Helicopter-Destroyer. If possible even more misleading than Through-Deck Cruiser.

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

They were trying to avoid alarming the political left, who saw aircraft carriers as a symbol of imperialism, colonialism, and all other isms hated by the left. “Through-deck cruiser” sounded more acceptable.

David Steeper
Guest

Yep it was Vietnam era. Everywhere in the west militaries were not flavour of the month.

Jack
Guest
Jack

The Japanese seem to be moving away from their previous pacifist policy. No bad thing, they have moved away from the WW2 nationalist and militaristic past and have have adopted the western model of democratic, civilian control of the military. Carriers are interventionist and coercive by their very nature so it’s quite a change.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

David Japan does not really have any influential left wing parties, all the big parts are centre right or centrist, there is a very small communist party but their influence is very low. Military dogma in japan (defence, defence, defence) is/was really driven by the level of national trauma over being nuked. What we are seeing looks like a real shift in the thinking of the SDF, it would be really interesting to have someone who could give use some idea of recent publications on SDF thinking, but you have to suspect they are looking a a shooting war in… Read more »

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

Thanks for your views Jonathan. I think Japan was concerned about the left in other countries also, such as South Korea, even the US, Taiwan, India. Agree that Japan has no really influential leftist parties, and that China needs to be careful about Japan. Japan has a very good record of wins against China.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

The CGI pics of the conversion have been about for a while.

Good for the JMSDF. Bad news for Godzilla. 🙂

Drake
Guest

Chuckle

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Steve, taking rubbish mate, We all know Godzilla could take a US super carrier as main course, so this is just a snack.

Grubbie
Guest
Grubbie

This is not true, the RN stated categorically that a carrier had to be at least 70,000 tons to operate the F35b.

Lee1
Guest
Lee1

No it didn’t. It had to be that size in order to cary out the operations required by the RN not simply operate an F35.

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

Deck size was in order to achieve the sortie rate.

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

It’s crazy how HMS QE can launch 24 F35bs in only 15 mins and recover 24 in 24 mins.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

A US carrier could launch 60 cabs in 15 minutes.

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

Yeah ok that’s the Americans they always turbo everything.

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

So it’s about the same as QE with only one launch ramp and American carriers with multiple but it’s still roughly 30 seconds on both carriers to launch and aircraft from ramp or catipult.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Steve. How many can the US planes recover in same time? (I don’t know) I’m interested

P

Steve
Guest
Steve

It would be interesting to know what sortie rate was achieved in the Falklands (last real pressured western war) and how much this was limited by the size of the carrier Vs limited by number of planes Vs limited by turn around of refueling and maintance.

Paper sortie rate never made any sense to me unless you can achieve it in practice with the resources you will realistically have available to yourself

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Only if it has 24 operational……….

Ardent
Guest
Ardent

Oops… Better tell the US Marines and the Italian Navy then, because they already plan to operate the B off flat-tops between 27,000 (Cavour class CVL) and 45,000 tons (America/Wasp class LHDs.)

Realistically, I think if this were said by the RN, they were probably referring to the minimum size needed to generate the kind of sortie rates and packages you see with US carriers, which is an entirely different ballgame.

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

2 × Phalanx CIWS & 2 × SeaRAM CIWS… Seems sensible?

Before someone bites! I’m joking… Couldn’t help myself!

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Got to bite sorry. I would say 3 phalanx and sea ceptor silos say 2x 24 cell vl quad packed to take up minimum deck space or space on the wings

Graham
Guest
Graham

Welcome news, the addition of the F-35B to the Izumo class is a major upgrade for the JMSDF.
It also gives the RN another partner for cross training purposes. I would love to see the odd JMSDF F-35B operating from the QE class and vice versa.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

A great oppurtunity to further develop the rapidly warming ties between Japan and the UK. No doubt they’ll be embedding crew members on QE class

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Give it five years and there will be F35b manga / anime to enjoy………

Evan P
Guest
Evan P

Oh God please no

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Not a fan of Stratos 4? Oh. 🙁

Helions
Guest
Helions

This is just a stepping stone to full sized carriers I assure you. The Japanese do military capability upgrades in increments to get their public used to it and to allow them to ease into greater controversial capabilities in small steps politically. Before this next decade is over the JMSDF will be building / sailing full sized CVs It will look something like this.

https://imgur.com/Zd00J

Cheers!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Or it’ll be a QE built under license

Helions
Guest
Helions

That would be a sight wouldn’t it? A QE class flying the Rising Sun. It would drive China nuts…

😀

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Japan purchased all her modern warships from the UK.

It’s the reason why curry is the favourite food of the JMSDF.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Japan purchased all her early modern warships from the UK.

Helions
Guest
Helions

Yes it is. IJN Curry is still served on all units of the JMSDF every Friday along with milk and a tomato, lettuce, and egg salad. It was originally conceived as part of the solution to the Beriberi epidemic that plagued Japanese forces until it’s causality (lack of nutrients outside of polished white rice) was identified and rectified in the late 1800s. can I just say, not only is IJN curry historic,, it’s just plain TASTY – had some I made on this recipe just last week. https://andrewzimmern.com/2014/01/09/japanese-soul-cooking-retro-curry/ Note: this is based on RN curry which was much more like… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

To fight whom? They live next door to their biggest three threats.

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

The PRC , and maybe NK.

David Steeper
Guest

In Japan it’s all politics even more so than here. They need, want and can afford carriers it’s whether the public and parliament will let them.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

The PRC? Do they have the sea room?

David Flandry
Guest
David Flandry

The PRC Army Navy(how is that for a title?) is the second largest Navy in the world, starting on build of their 3rd carrier, has more and larger landing ships than the RN, more subs than Russia, many more destroyers and frigates than Japan. At one time you could write them off as technologically primitive, but no more. Their existing SSBNs are noisy, so they will be sunk after launching their SLBMs. PRC is the biggest threat to the West.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Or a better idea we get 2 Royal Navy versions of the Izumo fitted out as LPHs and we build them a QE class. LPHs replace Ocean and act as secondary carriers/ ASW command ships. Something we are sorely lacking.
Bring back the ASW carrier.

Helions
Guest
Helions

comment image

Cheers!

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

Am I right in thinking the Japanese Izumo class can hold more aircraft in its hangar than HMS QE?…

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

No

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

The picture in the s I’ve link shows 30+ aircraft in the izumo hangar alone! But in another link it says it can only hold 28 aircraft!. I’m confused! But if the picture is correct it can hold more the HMS QE in the hangar.

Cam hunter
Guest
Cam hunter

The link above! Ooops that is a possible future Japanese carrier! I couldn’t read the writing as it was blurred.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

No CAM mate you are wrong there

J
Guest
J

All well and good but they need nuclear weapons and offensive missiles. Not enough aegis equipped destroyers on the planet to stop the incoming missile barrage from China if war broke out

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

Japan’s nuclear infrastructure is not only one of the most advanced but also one of the most extensive in the world. Along with a very extensive domestic missile industry. Taken together this means they can build nuclear weapons at will in whatever numbers are required. Ships take time, aircraft take time, tanks take time, and infantry take time, and time is more precious than anything. Add into that the mutual defense treaty plus the number of American servicemen, ships, and economic ties to Japan.This makes the result of any nuclear strike on Japan by China a rather expensive and radioactive… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Eliot I’m not sure the US has the will to follow up on its nuclear guarantees. It’s not a criticism but is there a sane leader in the world that would support an ally to the point of taking a massive nuclear strike back. It’s one of the reasons the UK should never loss its own nuclear weapons. I have a lot of respect for the US, but I’m not sure mutual support would streatch to the US knowingly triggering a massive relatiation back on its own citizens, if say London was attacked.

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

The US would because the number of Americans killed in any attack on Japan. The number of servicemen their either permanently or passing through is simply huge. The other reason is simply due to the loss of equipment and bases any nuclear attack on Japan would cause. The US couldn’t afford NOT to the yards couldn’t replace that many ships quickly. Nor could we replace that many aircraft or equipment stores that are forward deployed. This doesn’t even get into precedents. If America doesn’t defend herself in Japan where would it? Guam, Hawaii and Samoa would be at risk as… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Probably right, i was thinking more if there was little initial harm to the US. As you say this would not be the case with Japan as it has a lot of US troops and Treasure invested in it, as with the UK. But I do wonder at other NATO Nations with little or no US presence. Would the US President (of any party) risk many tens of millions of dead Americans responding to a nuclear attack in kind on say Latvia etc. I know what my thoughts would be if the British parliament decided it was going to court… Read more »

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

Look there will never be a war with nuclear weapons! Ever! We were close a few decades ago but it didn’t happen, it’s suicide for any nation to do so. Conventional war is far far more likely, so Japan doesn’t need nukes it just needs a good missile defence system and offensive system as most crucial infrastructure and warships ect will most likely be targeted by mega fast missiles on future. Maybe Japan having no nuclear deterrent is a good thing as it means they can build more destroyers/ helicopter carriers and submarines making it far far bigger than the… Read more »

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

The UK does not have nuclear weapons aboard the QE class. It was never meant to have them, but is still a strategic naval asset.

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

No one expected or though nuclear weapons would be on Hms QE. Lol

geoff
Guest
geoff

Correct me if I am wrong but does not the Japanese Constitution exclude its Navy from acquiring Aircraft carriers?

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

Nope. Under the strict reading of their constitution forbid weapons of offensive war from being “stockpile”. At least according to the courts. Now if this was the late 40s through the early 70s they would have legal problems. After World War II the designation for a carrier in the USN (which the newly created JMSDF copied designations from) went from CV cruiser voler (to fly) to designations of subtypes (CVL,CVS,CVH, and CVU etc.) with the fleet and later super carriers getting the designations CVB meaning Large Aircraft Carrier and CVA/CVA meaning Aircraft Carrier Attack/Aircraft Carrier Attack Nuclear. If those designations… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

Elliot, thanks for the informative post, I often wondered what the V was for in carrier designations.

David Steeper
Guest

Officially they can but by convention they can’t. If they tried to openly build a carrier there would be a huge fight in Parliament.

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

With the PRC building a multi-carrier power projecting navy, it’s just what is necessary to ensure Japans own security. Japan is a much different nation to that which fought WW2. A firm ally of the US & west.

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

Japan has a self-defence force Navy, with 26 destroyers, 6 destroyer escorts,, 10 frigates, 19 submarines, 4 helicopter carriers, 30 mine sweepers and 50,000 personel. magine what it’s going to be like in future. A great force.

Alan Reid
Guest
Alan Reid

Another split F-35 buy, folks!
Time for the UK to follow suit: Give 70 F-35Bs to the FAA and a similar number of the A variant to the RAF.

Malky
Guest
Malky

As I stated previously, I support a split buy for the second UK batch of 90 – 88 x F35B for the FAA and 2 x F35A for gate guardians at Marham.

Seriously, if the UK order does end up being split, it calls into question the option to operate both carriers to the maximum effect in times of need

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

Yes, please restore the FAA so the navy doesn’t have to gamble on the RAF allowing sufficient F35bs when needed & all aircrew are as competent with carrier ops as possible.
The restoration of the FAA before WW2 didn’t allow time to ensure it was equipped with the same state of art aircraft as the RAF operated. It was several years before FAA fighters could match the aircraft it was sent against.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

As long as the FAA got at least 70, I suspect any split buy will see the RAF stopping at 48 bs which would hobble two of our biggest national assets.

Ron
Guest
Ron

It now depends on how the Japanese intend to use the F35 from their platform. If it is the same way as the US and the America-Wasp then it will be a rolling take off with a reduced weapons load due to a lack of the ski jump. Or if the RN method then it could mean that the RN and Japanese can co-operate with the deck design and training.
We had in our history a close co-operation with the Japanese Navy until 1922, possibly we could rebuild that co-operation.

Cam Hunter
Guest
Cam Hunter

It was the British who helped Japan first industrialise back in the day, introducing trains ect. We make a good team and the fact we are two strong island nations means we are similar in more ways than one.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Shorter than QEC with no ski jump. It’s going to be interesting to see how the take-off weights compare between F-35Bs operating from JS Izumo and QE/PoW. I’m not criticising, kudos to Japan for upping their order and doing this (I say through gritted teeth, given this has just knocked the UK down to 3rd place in the F-35 stated-buying-intentions league), just curious to see what the numbers will be. Possibly connected, a quote from the article… “Iwaya also reiterated that the warship would not be an “attack aircraft carrier” capable of offensive military operations, although it’s hard to see… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

I assume it’s purpose will be as an escort carrier to protect against air strikes against the fleet, with maybe a secondary anti-shipping role. I doubt these aircraft will see much time over land at all.

David E Flandry
Guest
David E Flandry

The Hermes had a ski jump built after the FAA, correction, government, did away with all ship-born fighters except Sea Harrier.

Johnf
Guest
Johnf

There was a recent article about the US NAVY. The change over to the FA 18 and the F35 means that they will not have the effective range( it was about 1800 miles I think) that they used to. The new air wings just won’t carry the bomb load, or combat range, similar to the old A-6 and the F 18 Tomcat. The F25 B has even less range and bomb load than the F-35 A. THe F-35 is going to down grade the combat effectiveness of lots of combat units. With the Chinese making lots of long range anti-ship… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

The F-35 (A and C) already has better range than the Tomcat, while the B is about the same. Block III Super Hornet will as well. The addition of the mq-25 and v-22 tankers and potentially the F-35 engine upgrade will push this range out even farther. The RN doesn’t have the V-22 tanker but it’s an option they could pursue.

The A-6 has quite long legs, but it’s a subsonic attack plane with no way to defend itself, that offers some blessings.

Also neither the A-6 or Tomcat ever had a combat radius of 1,800 miles.

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

The are several reasons people (myself included) will always miss the A-6 Intruder. It was essentially a A-10 without the gun in terms of missions. The Intruder carried more weapons farther than most other aircraft in service at the time while still being armored for the CAS mission. They could carry 18000lbs (8200kg) of ordnance and had been upgraded through it’s service life for precision weapons.
All this while being one of the cheapest and most reliable aircraft procurement programs made by the USN.

David Flandry
Guest
David Flandry

The A-6 once took off carrying more ordinance than the a/c itself weighed.

Meiron X
Guest
Meiron X

I very Much agree with you Josh!
Still a lot of Un-informed comment on the F-35B!

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

Merion X
I have no problems with the F-35. But it essentially is a stealth F-16 with a big radar and a advanced computer. That is capable of in the B and C variants of carrier operations.
It will never match the ability of a A-6 or A-10 to service targets danger close to ground units while taking hostile fire. While also operating far from their bases. This is due to lack of armor, lift capacity, and fuel. The F-35 also due to being stealth are never going to be considered cheap while Intruders and Warthogs were.

Helions
Guest
Helions

Don’t care what the “results” are here. The F35 will NEVER replace the A10. Only thing that can replace an A10 is a modernized A10.

https://defensemaven.io/warriormaven/air/pentagon-f-35-vs-a-10-close-air-support-evaluation-hits-next-phase-qXj6tgp6g06nCJvtEMrzKg/

Cheers!

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

True. Jets have a very short range. There is still concern that the USN FJ fleet even with C coming on line (plus AAR too) is still short legged.

Meiron X
Guest
Meiron X

The F-35 bomb-bay is being lengthen for Block4 procurements to take Meteor missile and NSM.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Is it? I know some modifications are being made to the B model in order to allow it to fit more SDBs in, but as far as i’m aware the plan is for the B to accept Meteor with clipped tail wings in order to allow them to fit. JSM as far as i’m aware is not planned to be integrated into the B at any point (well, maybe externally), it’ll only fit in the A and C.

expat
Guest
expat

As I understand its almost impossible to lengthen, you have the lift fan constraint at the front of the fuselage and the swivelling nozzle at the rear. If it was possible they would have done from day 1.

If Rolls could come up with a more compact lift fan then that could allow the bay to be extended, its plausible to do as tech has moved on but unless the US want are going to fund it its unlikely to happen.

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

No, it is not being lengthened.

expat
Guest
expat

There also update to the F135 engine, adaptive cycle engine could give 20% more range.

Meiron X
Guest
Meiron X

It is true that the F-35b bomb-bay is to be lengthen a bit.
It seems to the rear part of it is 14 inches shorter.

http://www.tampabaydefensealliance.com/news/f-35b-internal-weapons-bay-cant-fit-required-load-small-diameter-bomb-iis-updated

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

@ Peter

Recover one every 40 seconds or so during the day and one per 60 seconds every night.

expat
Guest
expat

With Japan taking more F35s this could be the tipping point the pushes Turkey out the program. Japan could pick production done by Turkey along with other partner nations.

Could also be good for the UK with BAe’s simulation capabilities as well as areas like deck coatings. As we saw from the QE trials this will take Japan sometime and the UK are well placed to assist.

Helions
Guest
Helions

Turkey for now will retain F35 depot and component manufacturing processes. Along with the purchase of 100 A models. The DOD review panel looking into it just made the recommendation. I don’t think it’s a good idea with them also buying Russian ADA systems staffed with Russian techs on the radars… Hard to tell where Turkey will stand within the decade…

Cheers.

Helions
Guest
Helions

USAF takes delivery of operational LRASMs. USN F18s to be equipped in 2019.

https://www.janes.com/article/85364/usaf-receives-first-lrasm-missiles

Good start to reequipping the services with peer level systems.

Cheers

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

And to think we spent all this money on our carriers!
Merry Christmas.
https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/project-habbakuk-ice-aircraft-carrier/index.html

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Building the first Type 26.

How will the world have changed in 8 years time? This is how HMS Glasgow might appear when she is finally operational in 2027. This design has the flexibility and space to evolve as the technology of naval warfare advances rapidly.
https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/building-hms-glasgow-the-first-type-26-frigate/