JS Kaga helicopter carrier, the Izumo class of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force is not the largest, fastest or most powerful warship, but it is one of the cleanest battleships in the world. The crew of 500 people cleans the ship every day to make sure it’s always clean.

The sailors cleaned the toilets and decks, cleaned up the dust on the ship’s pipes, wires and every corner. They do this 30 minutes a day on one of the latest Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force warships.

JS Kaga has been in operation since 2017, giving Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force the ability to deploy offshore forces. The ship is part of efforts to increase Japan’s influence over China in Asia.

JS Kaga review

President Donald Trump on May 28, 2019 visited the destroyer ship JS Kaga, becoming the first US president to set foot on a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force warship. This is an act of tightening the US-Japan alliance.

JS Kaga helicopter carrier, anchored at the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka City, are currently the country’s largest battleship. The helicopter carrier has just been upgraded to be able to carry F-35 fighters and is capable of operating as an aircraft carrier. JS Kaga is the second constructed ship in the Izumo class of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Her namesake arises from Kaga Province in present-day Ishikawa Prefecture. The vessel was nammed and launched in August 2015.

The ship bears the same name, and almost the same size in length, as aircraft carrier Kaga, which served in the Imperial Japanese navy in world war 2 and led the attack on Pearl Harbor. The original Kaga was sunk in June 1942 near Midway Atoll during the Battle of Midway.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense first announced plans for the Izumo-class on 23 November 2009. The vessels can be used for multiple purposes, including anti-submarine warfare, command-and-control operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, as well as to protect Japanese territories in the East China Sea.

Officially classified as a $1.2 billion “helicopter destroyer”, this warship is the largest constructed by Japan since the Second World War, and at first glance bears a striking resemblance to a light aircraft carrier. Kaga has a length of 248m with a beam of 38m and a draught of 7.5m, the vessel is larger than short take-off and vertical landing carriers operating in the Spanish and Italian navies. An empty displacement of 21,500 tons with a full load displacement reaching 27,800 tons. This put the Kaga in a category similar to that of the Invincible class carriers commissioned by the Royal Navy. Altogether, the scale of this vessel represents a major advance in Japan’s maritime defense capabilities, significantly increasing the country’s ability to project force.

Powering the vessel is a Combined Gas-And-Gas arrangement which generate a power of 112,000 horsepower, giving the vessel a straight-line speed of over 30 knots in ideal conditions. The propulsion fit is 4 General Electric LM2500IEC marine gas turbines driving 2 Shafts under stern.

The ship can host up to 28 aircraft, or 14 larger aircraft. However, only 7 anti-submarine warfare helicopters and 2 search and rescue helicopters are planned for the initial aircraft complement. For other operations, 400 troops and 50 3.5-ton trucks or equivalent equipment can also be carried. The flight deck has 5 helicopter landing spots that allow simultaneous landings or take-offs.

Equipped with the latest in electronic warfare, fire control, and radar systems, the Kaga has been designed with the battlefield of the 21st century in mind. Sensors and processing systems fitted to the vessel include OYQ-12 combat direction system, FCS-3 fire control system, OPS-50 AESA radar, OPS-28 surface-search radar, and OQQ-23 bow sonar. For closer encounters, the Izumo is equipped with the Phalanx and SeaRam close-in weapons systems, capable of defeating most forms of incoming ordnance.

In 2018 it was announced that Japan will modify its two Izumo class helicopter destroyers will be modified in order to accommodate F-35 series stealthy multi-role fighters. The capacity of this ship has been significantly raised. Apart from helicopters these ships can also accommodate F-35B stealthy multi-role fighters with short-take off and vertical landing capability and V-22 Osprey tiltrotor transports.

Overall, the capabilities of the new Izumo class “helicopter destroyers” represent a step up for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. With this potential, Kaga and Izumo are not merely “helicopter destroyers”. We can surmise that the classification is largely for political purposes, as the inherently offensive capability of aircraft carriers would run counter to the values espoused in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.


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