According to my blog stats, one of the biggest draws to this site are the MSDF’s new “helicopter destroyers”. People are very interested in them. There’s not a lot of good information on them in the English language press, but there is a lot on YouTube. Even though most of it is in Japanese, it is interesting to watch, and you can figure a lot of it out. Here are the best videos I can find on the Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers.

This one is a bit nationalistic in that chest-beating way, but it’s one of the best. There’s a flight deck elevator ride, a walk through the interior, and a demonstration of the Phalanx CIWS.

Three things:

1. That Phalanx CIWS on the bow would have to be moved if they were to add a ski jump.

2. The placement of the elevators–in the middle of the flight deck–is less than ideal. That this is a feature of the new aircraft carriers helicopter destroyers is a bit baffling, as everyone knows they were a major shortcoming of World War II aircraft carriers, particularly Japanese ones.  (22DDH somewhat rectifies that by placing one elevator behind the island, but the other is still smack dab in the middle of the flight deck.)

3. It sure does look nice inside.

This one is even better, a Japanese news segment on Hyuga. featuring interior shots of the hangar, pri-fly, mess (I think the guy is saying the stove burners aren’t lit), crew quarters, and squadron ready room. Seahawk recovery and securing to the flight deck is demonstrated. The segment even has a side by side comparison to show the public how it’s different from other destroyers.

1. What is up with the marching up the ship’s officers marching up the gangway, arms swinging, holding the flag in front of them?

2. Again, what is up with the argyle flight deck crew shirt?

This one was taken from a trailing ship while Hyuga was underway. Nice external closeups, and including sailors lowering the naval ensign. Also great because it identifies other ships sailing alongside of it, including JDS Kuruma, the helicopter destroyer that got its nose busted last October in collision with MV Carina Star.

Here’s a video from Asashi News. Embarked assets would seem to be SH-60K Seahawk helicopters and one white hatchback subcompact car (which is useful for scale, actually.)

This next one is kind of boring, unless you like attending ship launchings. Hyuga at commissioning, August 23rd, 2008. (Ise at launching here.)

Some historical context: the original IJN Hyuga, wrecked in Kure harbor after an American air raid. Hyuga and Ise, lead ship in the class, were hybrid battleship-aircraft carriers, and were such a disappointment nobody thought of repeating the idea until the New Jersey-class battleships were reactivated.

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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