According to Japanese media, the destroyer Izumo has completed its modification and is ready to receive F-35B fighters in the near future
Izumo – a warship classified by Japan as a “helicopter destroyer”, actually has a structure similar to an aircraft carrier.
The reason for this ambiguity is because when the Izumo was designed, Japan was still very limited by regulations from after World War II, including regulations that did not allow it to own an aircraft carrier. The design of the original Izumo, allows it to perform as an amphibious assault ship, with the ability to deploy helicopters. However, in order to be compatible with the F-35B aircraft, the Japanese destroyer Izumo needs to undergo a modification process, including the modification of the flight deck, along with other elevator and logistics systems.
Due to the F-35B fighter jet’s ability to take off and land vertically, the heat it emits is a lot, requiring a special construction of the runway. The Japan Self-Defense Force Izumo helicopter destroyer has been in service since 2015. This ship has a maximum displacement of 27,000 tons, a length of 248 meters, a beam of 38 meters and a draft of 7.5 meters.
Izumo’s propulsion system is a Combined gas turbine and gas turbine, which provides 134,000 horsepower. Izumo can reach a maximum speed of 30 knots, with a crew of 970 soldiers including the aircrew and wings. The original design of the Izumo allowed it to carry 28 aircraft, along with 7 anti-submarine warfare helicopters and rescue helicopters.
Currently, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has two ships of this class, the first is the Izumo, the second is the Kaga. The program to convert Izumo started by Japan in 2018. In 2020, Izumo began the conversion process. Initial modifications include strengthening the heat resistance of the deck and installing power supply equipment to enable the departure and arrival of the F-35B.
The Japan Self-Defense Force has also ordered 42 F-35Bs to operate on these two helicopter destroyers. After the conversion, the Izumo class will have the same combat power as other light aircraft carriers, even surpassing some of the older aircraft carriers, which are still being used by many countries to this day.