Japan upgrades naval self-defense

Japanese destroyed Izumo

World naval developments December 2018

By Norman Friedman*

In mid-December the Japanese government announced that the two big helicopter-carrying ‘destroyers’ Izumo and Kaga would be modified to accommodate F-35B STOVL fighter-bombers. Japan is to buy both the conventional take-off and the STOVL versions of the F-35. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has long argued that it needs small carriers with fixed-wing aircraft to defend Japanese shipping, but in the past Japanese governments have avoided building them for fear of political repercussions throughout the Far East.

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