Friday, August 24, 2007

Repeat after me

"It's not an aircraft carrier. It's not an aircraft carrier. It's not an aircraft carrier..."

Just because everyone refers to it as such does not make it so. Japan has no offensive military capabilities--well, aside from the new Boeing 767 aerial tankers allowing the ASDF to refuel in mid-flight. Otherwise, no. Besides, a 1988 Cabinet Office decision determined that Japan cannot possess attack carriers.

Got that?


The first of Japan's next generation of large helicopter destroyers, the MSDF Hyūga, had its launch and naming ceremonies yesterday in Yokosuka.

Damn funny looking destroyer.

But then again, the ersatz Japanbureaucratese word for "destroyer" is "escort ship."

Later - Any similarities to this July 12, 2005 launch ceremony (hang in there--it takes a while to download) should be studiously ignored.

Though you have to love the choice of names for the darn thing: the "Dokdo."


Garrett said...

I imagine all the space is for crew-wide shuffleboard tournaments.


Anonymous said...

No, no, it is just more room for all those wonderful dance routines done to show tunes that JMSDF does when it wants to impress...

Anonymous said...

For peace and love!

Anonymous said...

Looks way too small to land an F-22 on it...

Oh yeah, that won't happen anyway, right ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey, MTC, just to let you know, that Garrett, 22, from Colorado, who commented, is not me, the Garrett from TPR. Oddly, I've already been asked about that comment, which confused me at first.

At least the other Garrett attempted wit (and succeeded to at least as great a degree as I ever do.)

Anonymous said...

New destroyer takes water

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 24, 2007

A new destroyer for the Maritime Self-Defense Force took water yesterday. The 13,500-ton destroyer, codenamed DDH Hyuga, carries helicopters on board. The Defense Ministry held a launching ceremony yesterday at IHI Marine United's Yokohama dockyard.

The DDH Hyuga is Japan's first 10,000-ton-plus destroyer with a continuous deck from the bow to the stem. The destroyer is not designed to base fighter jets for their landings and takeoffs. However, it looks like an aircraft carrier. One may say Japan will have an aircraft carrier in the future. It has an overall length of 197 meters and a maximum beam of 33 meters. Its building cost was approximately 100 billion yen.

Anonymous said...

She looks a lot like (and is bigger than) the Spanish "light carrier" Principe de Asturias.

The number of helicopter carried sounds surprisingly low to me - some ships of about equal size can carry up to 18. And you could switch VTOL aircraft for helicopters on an almost 1-for-1 basis.

Japan isn't listed as one of the partner nations for the F-35 program....but I bet a couple of dozen of the VTOL variant are on the short list of the Japanese Navy...oops, Maritime Self Defense Force.

Anonymous said...

This is not a power-projection ship. The designation DDH is actually fairly accurate, I think. Think of her as a souped-up US-style WWII CVE with command & control capabilities with some Russian-influence in her design vis-a-vis weapons array. The Russians, unlike the Americans, designed all their major post-WWII surface combatants that they might be able to protect themselves in a three-dimensional combat environment without relying on fragile escorts. Hyuga reflects this philosophy. Choppers are handy for amphibious insertion & ASW. She can maintain 4 aloft with hanger space for 11. She has 64 ESSMs, 2 Phalnax batteries, two sets of three 324 mm ASW torpedos of her own & excellent fire control & communications. Aside from possible spec forces deployment, there really isn't anything here that suggests to me that she's designed for anything but ASW & air defense. She's too light & cramped & has a short deck--not good for even air superiority VTOL or VSTOL fighters.

And unlike US construction, she's built on a budget--1.06 billion dollars in US currency, I believe. Not exactly cheap, but definitely feasible. Put this in perspective. The bloated & much ballyhooed American LCS is creeping up on half a billion US $$$. And I believe the F-35 is projected at around $300 million (per unit). What's the point of sacrificing all that ASW capability for two or three over-priced fighters that probably can't even take off the the short flight deck.

Furthermore, Japan has no NEED to operate carrier-based fighters. All their strategic interests are well within the range of land-based forces. And land-based fighters can carry much heavier payloads.

This is a medium-sized, self-sufficient helicopter-carrying command ship with unusually self-sufficient defensive capabilities against air & sea threats & some light torpedos.

Given that Japan's most likely enemies are all building & rely heavily on submarines, I think we can take this one at face value.