Dokdo and Izumo are not the same class of ship. In terms of size, the Izumo is significantly larger than the Dokdo with a displacement of about 27,000 tons, compared to 14,500 tons.


Japan and Korea, the two great powers of Asia, but the relationship of these two countries has never been really peaceful. Over time, the relationship between Japan and Korea has deteriorated further, because of historical and commercial disagreements.

Korea is in control of Dokdo, but Japan also claims sovereignty over the island, called Takeshima. South Korea claimed they had liberated the island from Japan in 1945, while Tokyo accused Seoul of illegally occupying.

For Japan and South Korea, Dokdo has an important sense of sovereignty. The Koreans named their largest class of ships after the island’s name, the Dokdo class, because of this intention.

For Japan, as a sea power, it has a powerful navy. The Marine Defense Force is considered to have impressive assets. Most notably, the two Izumo-class helicopter destroyers, JS Izumo and JS Kaga.

On the surface, Dokdo and Izumo look quite similar and certainly overlap in their goals. So what is the difference between these two classes? Which one has more advantages?

JS Izumo Design

Dokdo and Izumo are not the same class of ship. In terms of size, the Izumo is significantly larger than the Dokdo with a displacement of about 27,000 tons, compared to 14,500 tons.

The JS Izumo, number DDH-183, is the lead ship of her class. The ship worth $1.2 billion, is the largest warship in Japan since World War II. She entered service with the Japanese navy in 2015. JS Izumo is known as a helicopter destroyer. Her name says many things.

With a length of 248m (814 ft) and a width of 38m (125 ft), the helicopter destroyer is larger than the carriers used for fixed wing aircraft of the Spanish and Italian navies. The specifications of the JS Izumo are on par with the Royal Navy’s Invincible-class aircraft carrier. JS Izumo also added the latest features to electronic warfare, fire control and radar systems, ready to engage in any war in the twenty-first century.

Helicopter destroyer Izumo – as her name suggests, is designed to carry helicopters and planes. Japan is a mountain archipelago country, stretching thousands of miles, from north to south, near Russia in the north and China in the south. The complex geographic characteristics give Japan’s SDF a lot of areas to cover. Having a mobile air base seems more efficient and economical than building air bases across the territory. Consequently, the Izumo-class ships are larger than the Dokdo for more aircraft and helicopters inside.

Additionally, helicopter destroyers are an extension of destroyer mission set, primarily anti-submarine warfare. JS Izumo is capable of carrying 14 helicopters, mainly Japanese-made MCH-101 and SH-60K models, with impressive submarine hunting, search and rescue capabilities.

For closer encounters, the Izumo is equipped with the Phalanx and SeaRam close-in weapons systems, capable of defeating most forms of incoming ordnance.

JS Izumo is also able to effectively support amphibious assault campaigns. The ship can carry up to 400 Marines and nearly 50 light military vehicles. However, unlike the US amphibious assault ship Wasp, the JS Izumo is not equipped with a well deck and has to rely on helicopters for the rapid deployment of Marines in amphibious assault campaigns.

Korean Dokdo-class

The Korean Dokdo-class, known as a class of Landing Platform Helicopter amphibious assault ships – emphasizes her amphibious ability. Dokdo’s main purpose is also different from Japan’s Izumo, as South Korea’s neighbor is North Korea.

Theoretically, the Korean peninsula is still in a state of war. South Korea needed amphibious assault ships, its primary purpose during wartime to serve as a launching point for the South Korean Marines to land on North Korean territory. Thus, the Dokdo-class ships are designed to carry Marines, tanks, trucks, artillery, seaplanes, and helicopters.

Dokdo-class has two ships, Dokdo and Marado. The lead ship, Dokdo, entered service in 2007. The value of the ship is up to 650 million USD. In terms of a dedicated amphibious assault ship, the Dokdo is considered one of the largest classes of amphibious ships in the Asia-Pacific region, behind only China’s Type 075 class.

As an amphibious assault ship, the Dokdo is capable of carrying a wide variety of amphibious vehicles and equipment, on a large scale. She can carry up to 200 military vehicles of all kinds, 720 Marines with full equipment, 6 tanks, 7 amphibious assault vehicles.

Dokdo is armed with a RAM air defense missile system, with 21 RIM-116В Block 1 Rolling Airframe Missiles, with a range of 9km. There are also 2 30mm Goalkeeper close-in weapon systems, a rate of fire of 4,200 shots/min and a maximum range of 2km.

Naval aviation vehicles on Dokdo can have up to 15 helicopters, including UH-60 Black Hawk or SH-60F Ocean Hawk. This platform can be used by VTOL aircraft, but without elevators and suitable internal hangars. Obviously, carrying planes is not Dokdo’s strength compared to Izum.

Unlike the Japanese Izumo class, Dokdo is equipped with a well deck, providing the Marines with the ability to rapidly deploy in amphibious operations.

The difference is due to the intended use

From a technical perspective, the Izumo class is designed for defense, due to the JMSDF’s overall stance. The Izumo-class ships are mainly geared towards anti-submarine warfare and patrol.

In contrast, the Dokdo class is primarily designed for offensive operations, specifically over-the-horizon amphibious landings – equipped with a well deck and two LCACs so it can carry out these operations.

The Izumo and Dokdo are both capable of being fitted with F-35Bs. However, due to its size limitations, Dokdo’s abilities will definitely not on par with Izumo’s.

In general, Izumo and Dokdo have their own strengths, consistent with the military doctrine of each nation. The arrival of these warships marked a long step in the military might of the Japanese and Korean navies.

Both have never been to the battle, nor do they have much time in service to reveal their worth. All we have are the stats. But given their potential, this can be seen as a warning that Tokyo and Seoul send to rivals.

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