Japan is getting back into the aircraft carrier game

That’s going to cause China some heartburn.

And nobody is surprised. Construction of the Hyuga class “helicopter carriers” started in 2006, and the larger Izumo class in 2012. Calling them “helicopter carriers” was just a tatemae, and they’d already admitted it.

Well duh… anyone knows both of those classes could easily be STOVL aircraft carriers- even adding a ski jump would be no big deal. Dedicated helicopter carriers would look more like the Moskva class or RFA Argus- no real need for a full flight deck, just one aft.

Honestly, they look a lot like the US amphibious warfare ships without the well deck.

Kim has been pretty darn quiet for a while. It’ll be interesting to see if this gets a rise out of him.

LHA-6 and LHA-7 do not have well decks either.

I’m more interested to see if this is going to motivate the ROKN or RAN (or RAAF?) to buy some F-35Bs too.

This can’t be all that shocking a development to the Chinese or North Korea. South Korea has also been mulling doing the same thing with their two amphibious assault ships (one fielded and the other still in construction.)

Mostly, it’s the wrong time of year for major reactions from North Korea. The life cycle of the Korean peninsula saber rattle is closely tied to the calendar and agriculture. In the spring the US and South Korea traditionally start the cycle with a major exercise. The KPA (Korean People’s Army) typically has a chunk of its strength in the fields assisting with the spring planting. As they come out of the fields the rhetoric and brinksmanship start to ramp up and stay up through the summer. In the fall, the peninsula quiets down so the KPA can assist with the harvest. Once the harvest is complete the KPA heads into its major annual training cycle. They have a very large reserve component that gets 40 days of training a year. To keep reservists in the fields during growing season that means winter training. Pulling the KPA focus away from their training cycle has the potential to adversely affect the North’s military readiness for the entire following year.

THings like major tests in their nuclear weapons program have happened in the winter. Those are issues where the delay of a test can delay the whole multiyear program. Something like this typically doesn’t get much attention outside that post-planting to pre-harvest window.

Quick, have Midway send a message that there’s problems with its fresh water condenser.

Too soon, Man, too soon.


I thought that the prevailing interpretation of the relevant treaties was that carriers were offensive weapons, and therefore not allowed to the Japanese [del]military[/del]self-defense force. Has that interpretation changed, or is Japan just ignoring it?

One of the new ships will be named the Kaga, which was one of the four carriers the US Navy sunk at Midway…

That was the prevailing interpretation of the Japanese constitutional limits to self-defense. They’ve always had some understanding that striking overseas bases being used to target them could be self-defense. Carriers were generally considered offensive weapons, though, because they are power projection platforms and they are mostly constrained to their own territory and water. A couple years ago the Diet acted to create another pretty big loophole within the constitutional restriction - collective self-defense. They can work collectively with allies overseas for mutual defense.

Japan to allow military role overseas in historic move

The tests to fall within that reinterpretation are explicitly in the BBC article. That reinterpretation of the constitutional limit opens the door to something like this not being a strictly offensive weapon. There’s a potential need to project power outside Japanese territorial waters while still falling under those new self defense limits. The new carrier effectively can be justified by being allowed to defend forward.

Not too much. China has been developing and deploying anti-carrier missiles systems. It’s safe to assume anything which can handle American carriers can also handle a Japanese one.

Deception and evasion is SOP in Japan.

I bet they can get a heck of a deal on a partly-constructed one from the Russians.

But the Chinese don’t actually have an anti-carrier missile that can penetrate the defense of a US Carrier Fleet. Our defenses are pretty amazing and steadily improving. Of course I am assuming we actually have our defenses fully activated; unlike a few destroyed disasters.

More to the point, the Chinese are building a supercarrier,, to go along with their two ski jump ships.

Surely the air wing has to be larger than that… it’s kind of a lame supercarrier that displaces 85,000 tons, yet only has an air wing of 40 planes.

What, exactly, is a “ski jump”, in this context? I’m picturing a ship with a tall ramp, with an upturn at the bottom of it, but I’m pretty sure that’s not it.