According to Navy Recognition, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its second Izumo-class Helicopter Destroyer (Carrier) JS Kaga (hull number DDH-184) during the ceremony at the JMU Japan Marine United Corporation shipyard in Yokohama Isogo on March 22, 2017.
The vessel was named and launched in August 2015. Kaga was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the third to enter service, named after the former Kaga Province in present-day Ishikawa Prefecture.
Izumo-class Helicopter Destroyers have 5 helicopter spots and accommodation for 14 in hangar. A typical «air wing» would consist in 7 Mitsubishi SH-60J or SH-60K Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopters, 2 Mitsubishi UH-60J Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopters, 2 AgustaWestland MCH-101 minesweeping helicopters and 2 Boeing CH-47J Chinook.
First of class JS Izumo (DDH-183) was commissioned on 25 March 2015 in Yokosuka naval base. Izumo is the flagship of the JMSDF fleet and is the largest warship built by Japan since World War II. The 814-foot-long/248-meter-long and 19,500-ton helicopter carrier was unveiled for the first time in August 2013 in Yokohama.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the helicopter carrier is expected to play a key role both in defense of territorial sovereignty, in rescue missions, and in case of natural disasters.
According to Sam LaGrone, USNI News editor, Japan has launched the second in its new class of helicopter carrier – the largest Japanese ships since World War II – in a Thursday (August 27) ceremony in Yokohama. The 24,000-ton Kaga (DDH-184) – built by ship builder Japan Marine United – bears the same name as the World War II Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Kaga that was part of Pearl Harbor attack and was sunk in the Battle Midway.
The ship follows JS Izumo (DDH-183) which entered service in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in March. The Japanese have said the primary roles of the two ships are Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. The ships «heightens our ability to deal with Chinese submarines that have become more difficult to detect», a JMSDF officer told Asahi Shimbum in March.
The ships will field seven Mitsubishi-built SH-60 ASW helicopters and seven AgustaWestland MCM-101 Mine CounterMeasure (MCM) helicopters, U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World. There is a potential for the two ships to work with American MV-22s and potentially the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). However, the Japanese say they have no plans to operate the JSF from either ship.
When JS Kaga (DDH-184) commissions Japan will have four helicopter carriers. Along with Izumo, Japan have 18,300-ton Hyuga-class helicopter carriers already in commission.