Monday, September 03, 2007

Japanese Carrier Hysteria

So much hysteria in the news and on the web! First, America is planning to bomb Iran any day now ( just do a quick blog search if you don't believe me). Now Japan is supposed to be planning to refight World War 2. I've heard alot of hysterical talk on the new large helicopter destroyers being built in Japan, including the latest seen here. This from Defense News is one such article on the ship many deem as an aircraft carrier:

The Hyuga has some similarities to an aircraft carrier or
amphibious warfare ship, including a flush landing deck and starboard island
But the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) classifies
the vessel as a helicopter-carrying destroyer dedicated to anti-submarine
warfare (ASW) and humanitarian/logistic support...

“Just as the JMSDF’s other Aegis-class ships are understated
as destroyers, so is the SDF Hyuga understated as a destroyer,” Peter Woolley,
author of the book, “Japan’s Navy: Politics and Paradox,” said. “It is a light
carrier. But it is similar to light carriers maintained by European nations
including Britain, Italy and Spain. Thailand also has a light carrier exported
from Spain.”
The ship is named for a World War II-era hybrid
battleship/carrier that could carry 22 fighters, a decision not lost on defense

First off, I think the light carrier design is a normal transition for any rich navy that seeks to defeat advanced classes of submarines. It does not automatically mean that the ship will be an attack carrier. It is very limited in its ability to support vertol aircraft like the Harrier, lacking a ski-jump, and is somewhat too small to consider flying the yet to-enter-service F-35.

The name similarity to a WW 2 battleship/carrier means little since Japan, like most world navies, traditionally name their new warships after historical counterparts. For instance, the Kongo calls Aegis destroyer mentioned in the article is named for a war-era fast battleship.