The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its second Izumo-class helicopter-destroyer, the JS Kaga, during a ceremony held on March 22 at the Japan Marine United shipyard.
The 27,000 tonne ship is the second helicopter carrier in a class which Japan officially refers to as helicopter destroyers.
Measuring 248 meters in length, Kaga and Izumo are capable of operating some nine helicopters from their decks and are armed with two Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile SeaRAM launchers and two Phalanx close-in weapon systems.
Construction of the JS Izumo started in 2011 while the keel for JS Kaga was laid in 2013. Kaga was launched by Japan Marine United in August 2015.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Yokohama, Vice Minister of Defence Takayuki Kobayashi mentioned China’s aggressive behavior in the South China.
“China is attempting to make changes in the South China Sea with bases and through acts that exert pressure is altering the status quo, raising security concerns among the international community,” Reuters quoted the defence minister as saying.
Reacting to Japan’s launch of JS Kaga, China said it hopes that the commissioning of the new ship would not mean that Japan is returning to its military history, Reuters reported on Thursday.