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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

China is right to be alarmed by Japan's new 'helicopter destroyer

JS Izumo (DDH 183)Two weeks ago, Japan commissioned its largest naval vessel since the end of World War II. Sleek and with the clean lines of a ship designed for stealth, JS Izumo pulled into Yokosuka Naval Base, her new home port, and officially joined the Maritime Self Defense Force.

Izumo is a sign of the times, a weapons system that pushes the boundaries of Japan's war-adverse culture and increasing tensions with China.

Officially, she's a "helicopter destroyer" — a destroyer designed to carry helicopters. But Izumo is no ordinary destroyer. Destroyers are not 800 feet long nor do they displace 24,000 tons. They also don't have a flight deck that runs the entire length of the ship, aircraft hangars, and the capability to embark up to 14 helicopters.

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