Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has launched its largest warship since World War II, according to media reports. The Izumo-class helicopter destroyer was officially unveiled at Yokohama on 6 August 2013.
This unveiling occurred at a time of heightened tensions over several small disputed islands called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China. But the Japanese Defense Ministry says the ship is not intended to be used as an aircraft carrier. ”The destroyer is aimed at better responding to various contingencies in waters near Japan,” NHK reported.
The construction of the ship began in 2011 at an IHI Marine United shipyard in Yokohama with funding totaling 113.9 billion yen ($1.5 billion). The ship will be able to carry up to 14 helicopters, 7 ASW helicopters and 2 SAR helicopters. For other operations, 400 troops and 50 3.5t trucks (or equivalent equipment) can also be carried.
Commissioning of the vessel is scheduled for 2015.
JMSDF, August 8, 2013