Japan is considering the modification of its ‘Izumo’ helicopter carrier to be able to land and operate the F-35B short-take-off and vertical landing stealth fighter jets.
It is also mulling to increase the order of its 42 F-35A land based stealth fighters to 100 which will include a mix of the F-35A and F-35B versions, local media and agencies reported today.
The helicopter carrier, if remodeled with a strengthened runway could be called ‘multipurpose mother ship’ instead of ‘aircraft carrier’ so as not to flout the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution which says that Tokyo cannot possess attack aircraft carriers as it is only allowed to use force for self-defense.
Modifying the helicopter carrier with stealth-aircraft capabilities is seen as necessary in the face of China’s maritime assertiveness in the waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The government plans to state its policy of renovating a destroyer so it can carry fighter jets in the defense buildup guidelines to be updated next month, Japan Times said quoting a government source.
“It is desirable that it will be used for as many purposes as possible,” Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said at a news conference in response to a question if the Izumo could be used as a carrier of stealth fighter jets. If remodeled, the Izumo would likely carry F-35B stealth jet fighters, which are capable of conducting short-range and vertical take-off and landing.
Asked if the ministry will introduce F-35Bs or not, Iwaya said it is “now conducting studies” on that option.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which wants to revise the country’s pacifist Constitution, has called for an upgrade of the Izumo to use it as an aircraft carrier. The LDP referred to such an aircraft carrier as a “multipurpose mother ship” in its report compiled in May.
The Nikkei business newspaper reported that the government is preparing to order another 100 F-35 fighters from the U.S. to replace some of its aging F-15s, citing unnamed sources. Those F-35s would include both F-35As and F-35Bs, the Nikkei reported.
Currently, the Air-Self Defense Forces plans to procure 42 F-35As by fiscal 2024.
Japan is searching for a response to China’s building of two aircraft carriers back-to-back and plans to base locally-made fourth generation jets and fifth generation stealth fighters on them.
The Japanese government is considering the possibility of acquiring US-made F-35B fighter jets in future, as it is looking into remodelling Tokyos Izumo helicopter carrier. The 248-metre (814-feet) Izumo, Japan's largest warship equipped with a flat flight deck, was designed with an eye to hosting F-35B fighters
The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) second Izumo-class Helicopter Carrier DDH-184 will be named and launched by the end of this month. The carrier was commissioned on 25 March this year at Yokosuka naval base
Japan has handed over its warship 'Izumo' to its Maritime Self Defense Force on Wednesday. The helicopter carrier is as big as the Imperial Navy aircraft carriers, Reuters reported on Wednesday
In what appears to be the largest F-35 order outside of the United States, Japan plans to buy 147 of the sixth generation stealth fighters in the next decade. The new planes will include 42 F-35Bs and will include 18 short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) B cariants of the F-35 that Tokyo wants to deploy on Japanese islands along the edge of East China Sea, Lockheed Martin said in a statement Tuesday
United Technologies is awarded a $400 million modification contract for performance based logistics sustainment in support of the F-35 Lightning II F135 propulsion system for the United States Navy; US Air Force; US Marine Corps; Non-US Department of Defense (DOD) participants, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. This modification provides for maintenance of support equipment; common program activities; unique and common base recurring sustainment; repair of repairable; field service representatives; common replenishment spares; conventional take-off and landing/carrier variant F135 unique maintenance services, and short take-off and landing F135 unique services, the US department of defense said in a statement
The Japanese government is close to buying an uninhabited island in the south-western Kagoshima Prefecture to allow United States forces to practice aircraft carrier landings. The government negotiators and Taston Airport Company, which owns the island, have reached a breakthrough on the issue of price, now set between 11 and 14 billion yen (US $97 million to $123 million),
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