Japan to Deploy Converted Aircraft Carrier in Indo-Pacific
Japan will soon begin its biennial Indo-Pacific Deployment (IPD), a four-month-long naval exercise with regional partners that will include its recently converted aircraft carrier JS Izumo.
The IPD, which will run from June 13 to Oct. 28, will also involve the destroyers JS Takanami and JS Kirisame, a submarine, a P-1 maritime patrol aircraft, UP-3D electronic intelligence training aircraft, and US-2 amphibian aircraft.
According to the Defense Ministry’s statement, the deployment objectives were to improve the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s tactical capabilities and deepen cooperation with partner navies in the Indo-Pacific region.
It stated that the IPD units would make port calls to Australia, Fiji, French New Caledonia, India, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tonga, United States, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.
The JS Izumo, recently converted into a light aircraft carrier, is Japan’s largest warship, measuring 248 meters in length and 38 meters in beam.
The 19,500-ton multi-purpose operation destroyer is equipped with Cell SeaRAM missiles that are capable of destroying supersonic and subsonic threats. The ship can carry up to 28 aircraft and accommodate 970 sailors, the Naval Recognition reported.
The JS Izumo conducted takeoff and landing trials with the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B aircraft in October last year, marking the first time since 1945 that a fixed-wing aircraft took off from a Japanese vessel. This marked the first phase of its modifications to allow it to operate the F-35B.
The second phase of the modification is reported to include renovating the front of the ship’s flight deck and internal spaces to further allow F-35B operations. It’s unclear if this has been completed or when it is expected to be completed.
According to Japan’s Defense Ministry, the IPD units will take part in six exercises, including the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC), which is set to take place from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
The U.S. Navy said in a statement that 26 nations would participate in the biennial RIMPAC, including 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, and more than 170 aircraft. This will be the first time that an Izumo class multi-purpose destroyer participated in the RIMPAC.