Defense, citing an article in Forecast International, says of 22DDH:

The superstructure is very similar to that of the Hyuga class with the difference that the 01 deck is extended forward, probably to accommodate a vertical launch silo for air defense missiles. The point defenses of the new ships are more than doubled, with three Phalanx Mk 15 mountings and two RAM launchers replacing the pair of Phalanx mounts on the older ship. Significantly, while one of the Phalanx mounts on the Hyuga is situated forward on the flight deck, and thus obstructs fixed-wing operations, the 22DDH has all of its mounts located on sponsons clear of the flight deck itself. (Link)

More details at the link. Note however the distinct lack of official sources in the article, which should temper enthusiasms some.

There’s also this:

Japanese accounts suggest that one of the reasons for the drastic increase in size of the 22DDH design is a planned shift to the V-22 Osprey as the primary air group element for these ships. It is not clear whether these would be replacements for or supplemental to the SH-60Ks that equip the Hyuga class. These accounts also make it clear that the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is seen as a key system for these ships. Apparently, provision for the operation of UAVs is being included within the design.

“Japanese accounts” tend to be from the military enthusiast magazines. These magazines are high quality production jobs, but they also tend to assume that Japan will get all of the latest and greatest American gear; they ran with the F-22 ball for years, putting the Hinomaru on Raptors until it was painfully obvious Japan was not going to be allowed to buy them.

As for V-22 Ospreys, this blog has its doubts. Japan has expressed no public interest. There is no anti-submarine warfare variant of the Osprey, and one would have to be developed. And while having an expensive toy that only the Americans have would be highly appealing to the Japanese, $100 million for a glorified medium lift helicopter (not counting all of the anti-submarine bells and whistles) with safety and reliability issues is probably too rich even for Japan.

Admittedly the changes described–if real–point towards fixed wing aviation, but they also make good design sense, especially from a safety standpoint, and given the increase in overall ship size. That having been said, there’s no consensus that Japan needs carriers. Japan has no power projection ambitions that drive a need for carriers. For its strategic needs, Japan is the aircraft carrier.

It’s fun to imagine Japan having carriers again, but it just isn’t realistic.

GD Star Rating

Related posts:

A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch