|The Izumo is key to Japan’s strategy for countering China’s threats.|
Japan launched its largest military ship since World War II on March 25 when Defense Minister Gen Nakatani led the commissioning of the helicopter carrier JDS Izumo in Tokyo.
The 814-foot, 24,000-ton ship can carry seven Mitsubishi-built Sikorsky antisubmarine warfare (ASW) SH-60Ks and seven AgustaWestland mine countermeasure MCM-101, as well as roughly 400 troops. It also is capable of carrying Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotors and the Lockheed Martin F-35B combat jet. The Izumo will join two 18,300-ton Hyuga-class helicopter carriers commissioned in 2009 and 2011. A second Izumo-class carrier should enter the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s fleet around 2017. The Izumo is key to Japan’s strategy for countering maritime threats from China, North Korea and Russia.