Recently China has been actively developing and investing in its military, and some tensions have been noticed between China and Japan on the sea borders.
At the start of the week, the two US F-35Bs landed on and then took off from the newly built deck of the Izumo- for the very first time, an aircraft with fixed wings has been operating from the deck of a Japanese carrier in the past 75 years. This test is just the first step in the direction of Japan having its first carriers after World War II.
On Tuesday, the Defence Ministry announced the success of the departure and landing of the cutting-edge F-35B combat aircraft of the U.S. Marines from Izumo, which is a remodeled version of a previous helicopter carrier.
The Defense Ministry said the work on the Izumo was a sign of close defence cooperation and will aid in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and improve the deterrent. It will continue to “steadily improve” the capabilities of the vessel.
Japan has placed an order for 42 F-35b, an aircraft meant for short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft of the U.S., many of which will come onto the Izumo and its sister vessel, the Kaga.
“This test has demonstrated JS Izumo’s ability to assist in landings and takeoffs of STOVL aircraft in the sea, which allows us to offer an additional option to defend the air within the Pacific Ocean shortly,” said MSDF Rear Adm. Shukaku Komuta.
The statement from the ministry seems to confirm the tear in Japan’s postwar defence standing taboo; however, it is still a mystery how Izumo’s development will be in line with the country’s explicit defence-oriented policy, especially since the ship has yet to discover its specific role.
Japan’s Constitution orders the banning of weapons exceeding “the minimum required force” needed for self-defence. However, the officials state that his move does not violate the law.
3 OCT, the #JMSDF conducted verification of takeoff and landing of the USMC F-35B to JS #IZUMO.— Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (@jmsdf_pao_eng) October 5, 2021
The JMSDF continues to steadily carry out the necessary modifications to the IZUMO class to acquire the capability to operate the F-35Bs. pic.twitter.com/0gtPNzrxQC
Defence analysts widely accept the move as part of a coordinated effort to confront China’s increasing assertiveness on the oceanfront in the airspace and the waters close to Japan.
China is home to two air carriers and is currently building another, and has responded to the announcement by downplaying Japanese carriers’ potential. They also claim this move may lead to the return of Japanese militarism.
To ensure that Izumo Izumo was up to the specifications to support F-35Bs, modifications to the flight deck were carried out in the summer. Some of the modifications included the installation of lighting that was appropriate and the application of a heat-resistant coat. The F-35 B’s STOVL capabilities ensure that the exhaust nozzle frequently is pointed straight towards the deck of the aircraft, damaging ships that aren’t protected.
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