The JDS Izumo helicopter carrier has been undergoing intensive sea trials since late September as Japan prepares to launch two Izumo-class destroyers over the next two years, the report said.
Once commissioned, these Izumo-class vessels will greatly enhance Japan's anti-submarine, anti-ship, air combat and amphibious assault capabilities, giving the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force two light aircraft carrier battle groups and two helicopter carrier battle groups.
Izumo-class carriers will boost the Japanese navy in four key respects. First of all, the Izumo-class can potentially double the anti-submarine capabilities of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Currently, Japan's Shirane-class destroyers can carry 9-10 helicopters, compile two anti-submarine crews and carry 16 anti-submarine torpedoes, while its battle groups can equip 42 MK-46 anti-submarine torpedoes and 112 ASROC anti-submarine missiles, which have a range of 11 kilometers and 22 km, respectively.
On the other hand, Izumo-class destroyers can carry 14 helicopters, five anti-submarine crews and 40 anti-submarine torpedoes, with battle groups that can equip 42 MK-46 anti-submarine torpedoes and 104 ASROC anti-submarine missiles.
Second, the Izumo-class can more than double Japan's air combat capabilities. Shirane-class battle groups come equipped with more than 300 SM-2MR, RIM-7 series and RIM-162 ship-to-air missiles with ranges between 16 km and 150 km. By comparison, the Izumo-class destroyer can carry eight F-35 stealth fighter jets and carry 32 AIM-120 mid-long range missiles and 16 short-range missiles. Its battle groups can also equip more than 400 ship-to-air missiles with ranges between 16 km and 150 km.
Third, the Izumo-class can more than triple Japan's anti-ship combat capabilities. The Shirane-class destroyer can carry 56 Harpoon or Type 90 ship-to-ship missiles which have a range between 90 km and 200 km. But with up to eight F-35 fighters on board, the Izumo-class can carry as many as 48 Norwegian-made naval strike missiles, extending its anti-ship combat radius to 640 km. At the same time, Izumo-class battle groups can also carry more than 50 Harpoon or Type 90 ship-to-ship missiles.
Fourth, the Izumo-class destroyer will lead to a dramatic surge in Japan's remote delivery and amphibious combat capabilities. At the moment, Japan's three Oosumi-class landing ships can be loaded with 990 marine officers, six landing craft and 30 tanks. Each Izumo-class carrier, on the other hand, can carry 500 soldiers and multiple helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, with a deck that can cater to five helicopters or MV-22 Ospreys landing or taking off simultaneously. Two Izumo-class vessels will be able to transport 1,000 soldiers to the frontline while also strengthening defense and invasion capabilities.
The first in class 22DDH aircraft carrier, Izumo, DDH-183, for the Japanese MArittime self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was launched on Auguts 6, 2013 in Yokohama, Japan.