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Japan Unveils Largest Warship Since WW2 282

Posted by timothy
from the would-you-like-to-play-some-brinksmanship? dept.
schwit1 writes with an excerpt from an AP story on some interesting technology afloat: "Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier. Some experts believe the new Japanese ship could potentially be used in the future to launch fighter jets or other aircraft that have the ability to take off vertically. The ship, which has a flight deck that is nearly 250 meters (820 feet) long, is designed to carry up to 14 helicopters.Though the ship — dubbed 'Izumo' — has been in the works since 2009, its unveiling comes as Japan and China are locked in a dispute over several small islands located between southern Japan and Taiwan. For months, ships from both countries have been conducting patrols around the isles, called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China."
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Japan Unveils Largest Warship Since WW2

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  • Japanese Military (Score:5, Informative)

    by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @11:55AM (#44487059) Journal

    It's well past time for the Japanese have a decent offensive capability against that of China. Leaning on the U.S. forever is not sustainable.

    • Re:Japanese Military (Score:5, Informative)

      by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @11:58AM (#44487111) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, well, treaties enforced by the U.S. don't really allow "offensive capability."

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When the shit hits the fan the definition of 'defensive' will be very vague.

      • Re:Japanese Military (Score:5, Informative)

        by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:05PM (#44487187) Journal

        Actually, I don't think any current treaties between the U.S. and Japan limit Japanese offensive capability. It's the Japanese constitution which does. Now everybody knows the U.S. is responsible for the non-offensive military part of the Japanese constitution when it was written. That being said they (the Japanese) could change it if they wanted to.

        But they don't, because it's far easier to let the U.S. spend big $$$ on a military along with R&D then it is for them. I'd guess though that if the U.S. ever reduced their pacific capabilities the Japanese would see the light...

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Pravda has a very good article on how weak the US is in the Pacific Rim, with the main reason that the carrier fleets don't get sunk is because China doesn't really care about the "floating circuses" -- groups of ships which are defenseless against long range sub attacks.

          • by HornWumpus (783565) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:38PM (#44487609)

            Everything is, more or less, defensive against ICBMs. Including Shanghai and Beijing. MAD hasn't really changed.

            There are American fast attacks under every carrier group that will have something to say about 'defenseless' if you are talking about closer then ICBM range.

            Russia is a failed superpower, telling it's self what it wants to hear.

            • Russia is a failed superpower, telling it's self what it wants to hear.

              I saw an interesting show on how Russia is slowly dismantling the nuclear submarine fleet (Discovery's "Submarine: Hidden Hunters Collection"). They showed how a team of contractors and experts from former East Germany were helping decommission the fleet. There were over 200 nuclear power plants, with more still coming, sealed in part of the sub's pressure hull and being stored on cement slabs until the radioactivity had decreased enough for a later generation to tackle.

              Failed super power or not, it does s

              • by Dunbal (464142) *
                Reliance on obsolete tech is not very comforting. Why should I send a ship to do something that can easily be done with long range land based missiles nowadays? I can afford many, many missiles for the price of your one ship. And when your big toys are at the bottom of the ocean, a few destroyers can easily control the ocean.
                • by lgw (121541) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @02:46PM (#44489471) Journal

                  Carriers exist to project power when it's not a case of total war against a strong opponent (i.e., every conflict since WWII). Nothing else does that job as well - not even close. When war gets hot then of course its the Boomers that matter, and surface ships are irrelevant.

                  Destroyers have never been able to project power - that's never been their mission in the history of navies.

          • In a war between the US and the old Soviet Union, the aircraft carriers weren't expected to last more than a day or two at most. Too many missiles, even if you ignore torpedoes.

            Has China gotten to that level? I doubt it. And there's a lot more stopping them than the threat of an aorcraft carrier or two. Never forget that the US was capable of cranking out one major ship a week 70 years ago when someone got us started.

            • Never forget that the US was capable of cranking out one major ship a week 70 years ago when someone got us started.

              Never forget how many shipyards have closed in the USA during the last 70 years. And how long it takes to train new workers to construct that kind of ships.

          • Carrier fleets are not defenseless against subs, infact their defense has centered around sub-based offense. But the Chinese really don't care- not becuase of their sub fleet, which is small and 20 years behind in technology, but becuase of this [wikipedia.org]. These types of missles are far cheaper and much more effective than attack subs.
        • by rahvin112 (446269)

          Last I saw the Japanese pay far more than it costs the US for that defense and that isn't even including all the land for military bases.

          • IIRC the last base is on Okinawa.

            They are lucky we let them have any of it back. They wouldn't have.

        • by Alef (605149)

          [...] they (the Japanese) could change [the constitution] if they wanted to. But they don't, because it's far easier to let the U.S. spend big $$$ on a military along with R&D then it is for them.

          Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, certainly wants to change it [japantimes.co.jp], so I don't think it's as far off as you suggest.

        • Re:Japanese Military (Score:5, Interesting)

          by usuallylost (2468686) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @01:19PM (#44488141)

          According to both Douglas MacArthur and the memoirs of the Japanese prime minister at the time, Kijuro Shidehara, article 9 was written by the prime minister. Because he was afraid that having a weak military would only provide an opening for those wanting to rearm. His answer to that was to preclude that in the constitution. So it was Japanese internal politics rather than the US ramming it down their throats that gave them article 9. Just as their politics have prevented it from being changed. Simply becaue a substantial portion of the Japanese population still supports the idea behind article 9. The current LDP government would like to change article 9 but can't even really push it because their coalition partners, New Komeito, are commited to preserving article 9.

          There is one part of that constitution that I have read was rammed down Japan's throats over the screaming objections of their government. That is the part about equal rights for women. They were not the least bit happy about that.

        • Actually, I don't think any current treaties between the U.S. and Japan limit Japanese offensive capability. It's the Japanese constitution which does.

          True, and that mistake needed to be corrected. But guess who wrote the Japanese constitution? Hint: Not the Japanese.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:10PM (#44487239) Journal

        Yeah, well, treaties enforced by the U.S. don't really allow "offensive capability."

        Do you think that the US would have the slightest interest in enforcing them? Anything short of strategic nuclear weapons could be brushed off with a 'my, my, Japan's coast guard is looking so robust lately!' unless the US actually has a continued interest in disarming Japan.

        • As someone else said, I was mistaken, and it's Japan's constitution, not a treaty that establishes the defensive nature of their military.

          If it were a treaty, the U.S. has every interest in establishing the appearance of a nation that enforces its treaties, for fear that other nations would flout them.

          • The US hasn't really gotten a great reputation for following treaty obligations in the last while, from the Geneva Convention down to things like trade in lumber and catching ugly fish.

            They're pretty adamant about other countries following treaties though.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        The US never thinks twice about breaking treaties, why would it be different for the Japanese?
    • You sir haven't taken any classes on foreign policy lol. It's not about logic. It's about maintaining a boot on the neck of a former enemy under the guise of peace. I do agree that we should use the Japanese as a counterweight against growing Chinese military power, but the offset is risking another industrial giant leveraging location to push us out of the theater.

      • by polar red (215081)

        what exactly do you mean by 'us' ? The 0,1% richest people of the earth, which you are not a part of ? and who do not have a nationality ?

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      You realize the US have been restricting the Japanese military and even have military bases on Japanese soil?

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:34PM (#44487555)

        You realize the US have been restricting the Japanese military and even have military bases on Japanese soil?

        Winston Churchill once said that the purpose of NATO is to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down. The US has bases in Japan for the same reason except China==Russia and Japan==Germany. If the American bases are removed, Japan will be forced to re-arm to defend themselves (including nukes), and the Chinese will then feel obligated to do likewise, ... which will then lead to an arms buildup in India and SE Asia. It is far cheaper for the US to maintain the bases than to deal with the consequences of their removal.

    • by the_humeister (922869) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:22PM (#44487407)

      You know what? It's also well past the time for them to have a flying space carrier with a huge mounted laser gun in the front too (which was what I was expecting with this new ship). Or maybe even a transforming space carrier with a massive super weapon on its shoulders. Very disappointed.

    • by steelfood (895457) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:24PM (#44487431)

      Actually, the U.S. designed it that way. They were the ones who stipulated as a condition of surrender that the Japanese have no standing army (only a "defense force" whose training and armament is tightly-controlled by the U.S.). The U.S. wants a base of operations in the far east, and maintains tight controls over Japan for that purpose. They have other bases in the Pacific, but they set up Japan before long-range aircraft, requiring them to be close to Russia/China/North Korea.

      So no, it's not by choice the Japanese have to rely on the U.S. for military protection. It's a consequence of losing WWII that they're effectively subjugated to U.S. military "protection" (in the same sense of "protection" money).

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      Leaning on the U.S. forever is not sustainable.

      Perhaps, but right now it's the best way of preventing a second Sino-Japanese War. China trusts the US military much more than they do a Japanese military, and US abandonment of the region would trigger an arms race (conventional and otherwise) that would make Indian-Pakistani relations look warm and fuzzy.

      • Perhaps, but right now it's the best way of preventing a second Sino-Japanese War. China trusts the US military much more than they do a Japanese military, and US abandonment of the region would trigger an arms race (conventional and otherwise) that would make Indian-Pakistani relations look warm and fuzzy.

        Not just with the Japanese, either -- basically, all the other countries in the region are going to have to decide whether they care more about the evil things Japan did to them prior to and during WW2, or about how powerful mainland China is today. Further, the less of a counterweight the US is to China, the more incentive there is for China's neighbors to go nuclear -- and Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have the technological/industrial base to do so very quickly.

        Mind you, that might not necessarily be a

    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @01:03PM (#44487927) Journal
      They can't really help how large their ships get, they are just mutated. See the next story on leaks at Fukushima!

      Forget about defending against the Chinese - wait until giant lizards and moths start attacking, they'll need all the firepower they can get!
  • Carrier? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558)
    Carriers are sitting ducks without a battle group. I doubt the Chinese are worried over this at all.
    • by sycodon (149926)

      Ya have to wonder why it has "...has raised eyebrows in China..."

      Did they think everyone would just sit around while they grew their military and acted like buffoons?

    • by rwise2112 (648849)
      From the article:

      Though technically a destroyer, some experts believe the new Japanese ship could potentially be used in the future to launch fighter jets or other aircraft

      Anybody know how this thing can be classified as a destroyer?

      • by Hartree (191324)

        The same way you can call a lion a housecat.

        Doesn't mean anyone will believe you, though.

      • You press that big button on the top (not shown in the picture) and the flight deck folds up and guns pop out.

        Sheesh. Haven't you seen the Transformers movie yet?

      • by Zcar (756484)

        Same way the Soviet and Russian navies called their Aviation Cruisers?

      • by rossdee (243626)

        "Anybody know how this thing can be classified as a destroyer?"

        Since WWI the main role of "the destroyer" has been to hunt subs. Maybe the Japs intend that for this ship. The flight deck could be for carrying anti-sub helos.

        Its way to small to be used for conventional jets, and I don't think the JDF has any VSTOL fighters, and even if they did, it couldn't carry enough fighters to protect itself without US support

        It may be their largest ship since WWII, but its only about 1/3 the size of a WWII carrier like

    • Carriers are sitting ducks without a battle group. I doubt the Chinese are worried over this at all.

      Even with a battle group, Japan and China are, what, ~800 kilometers apart (and the islands that Japan and China have special togetherness problems about are roughly equidistant); is anyone feeling lucky against the number of anti-ship missiles that you could launch, from shore or from land-based aircraft?

    • Re:Carrier? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:31PM (#44487523) Journal

      Carriers are sitting ducks without a battle group when outside land based fighter range. I doubt the Chinese are worried over this at all.

      Fixed it for you. But I admit that even Japanese F 15 Eagle would not be able to keep a continuous air cover on the Sea of Japan.
      Be aware tough, that the Japanese navy already has the basic capability of a carrier group. Kongo Class destroyers [globalsecurity.org] are equipped with the SPY-1 phased array radar and the SM2 block 3 missile, the same suite defending American carriers.
      If anything, given the cold war capabilities of the Japanese navy, their carrier group is a bit skewed towards anti submarine warfare, but who's complaining?
      given your original post, I must say that China has no reason to complain. Even if Japan builds another three of these (one for each battle group that it has available now), there's no way that it can mount a credible threat to China itself. It can, tough, be a credible threat against China's expansionary policy in the Spratleys, etc., and above all China's wayward province, North Korea.

    • Not to mention China is easily within range of aircraft fighters and bombers. They can take off from the heart of Japan and strike Beijing; they don't need carriers.
    • by Zcar (756484)

      You mean like the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's (JMSDF) fleet of Atago class (modified US Burke Flight IIA) and Kongo class (modified US Burke Flight I) Aegis guided missile destroyers? Seems to me like they could put a pretty credible group of AAW escorts from that. Add in the indigenous Akizuki and Takanami class ASW frigates, and I think the JMSDF could field a pretty credible short range carrier battle group with 2-3 Aegis destroyers and a similar number of ASW escorts if they had an appropriate c

  • Article 9 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:03PM (#44487173)
    So am I correct in inferring that no one really takes Article 9 [wikipedia.org] very seriously any more?
    • So am I correct in inferring that no one really takes Article 9 [wikipedia.org] very seriously any more?

      No, and this is another victory for reality over idealism. History is chock full of those, or at least, of the dead bodies of the hapless victims of ill advised good faith. For reference, see "this is an era of peace", "open covenants openly arrived at", etc.
      For an explanation why tough, nobody beats General Von Mannerheim [wikipedia.org], who was quoted as saying, when asked why Finland should have a standing army: "Every country has an Army. Either its own, or an army of occupation"

    • Frankly, nobody's taken Article 9 very seriously for about forty years now. It gets taken out on occasion when people want to object to sending Japanese units to participate in some international force, but otherwise it gets pretty much ignored.

    • Yeah, that's a plan, let's learn from the loser and repeat his idiocy.

      But then, who are we to talk, we copy from the late 1920 how to deal with economic troubles.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:10PM (#44487257)

    What about their zeal to make everything smaller and more efficient? I'd have expected them to produce the smallest aircraft carrier with a few hundred fully automated drones that can conduct pinpoint strikes and play some soothing melodies while they clean themselves.

  • So... when is it gonna transform into a giant robot?

    • While everyone else is speculating about 1990's "fighter planes" - you're probably closer to the truth. I suspect it's not a carrier for conventional fighters, but, as you say, robots^H^H^H^H^H^Hdrones.
      • All joking aside, that's pretty much what I assumed. I wouldn't be surprised to find out the navigation system can function with complete autonomy as well.

  • by funwithBSD (245349) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:14PM (#44487315)

    And that is not a Helicopter Carrier.

    It is going to be a "full sized" drone carrier.

    • by Viewsonic (584922)

      This *10. Even for a drone carrier, this is still a huge ship. The future is not with manned aircraft.

  • by comparison, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier (aka the floating island) is 332.8 meters (1,092 feet) long.

    compensating, wha?

  • >> huge flat-top destroyer...bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier. The ship, which has a flight deck that is nearly 250 meters (820 feet) long, is designed to carry up to 14 helicopters.

    OK, if it's designed with a "flight deck" that designed to carry aircraft (helicopters), how is this NOT an aircraft carrier?

  • Unless they changed something about the surface mix during the move from the Hyuga class to the new Izumo class, the downward heat from a launching VTOL fighter like the F-35 would melt the runway. Not the kind of surface you'd want to take off from.

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Unless of course they added the piping and pumping systems necessary to water cool the deck. Right?

    • Good point, I am sure the Japanese engineers that build the ship did not think to make the surface not melt when something tries to land or take of vertically on it. Good thing Slashdot exists otherwise all kinds of engineers and scientists might be making fools of themselves.

  • Good Old Days (Score:4, Informative)

    by nojayuk (567177) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:32PM (#44487525)

    The Izumo is a replacement for the existing smaller Japanese helicopter carriers and they plan to build a second one. Some defence-oriented website put up a scale comparison picture -- the Izumo is about the same size as the IJN fleet carriers like the Akagi that attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. It's still significantly smaller than the USMC's Tarawa LHD carriers and the forthcoming America class replacements for the Tarawas are even bigger targets^W.

  • Japan has been fielding "destroyers" that are really helicopter carriers for some time.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hy%C5%ABga-class_helicopter_destroyer [wikipedia.org]

    for example.

    They probably also could be refitted to launch VSTOL aircraft like the Harrier.

  • Destroyer? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ioldanach (88584) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:40PM (#44487623)
    This is a VTOL carrier, through and through. I don't see any significant weaponry on board beyond the aircraft carrying capabilities, and no sources that I can find indicate the armanent of DDH-183 Izumo [wikipedia.org]. Helicopters and VTOL manned and drone aircraft would be ideal uses for that flight deck.
  • And where's the wave motion gun?

                        mark

  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @12:56PM (#44487841)

    For several years before war broke out, German airliners looked suspiciously un-airliner-like. Examples the HE-111 and FW-200. War breaks out, and surprise! Turns out with a few twists of a wrench they make much better bombers than they ever did airliners. Izumo may be a destroyer now, but I guarantee you there are plans - and possibly fittings already installed - for launch equipment.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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