Japan Launches Newest Izumo-Class Helicopter Carrier

Japan Launches Newest Izumo-Class Helicopter Carrier
# 28 August 2015 02:50 (UTC +04:00)

The 24,000-ton ship, named Kaga – after the WWII aircraft carrier that took part in the Pearl Harbor attacks and was sunk at the Battle of Midway – is due to be commissioned in March 2017.

Kaga follows fellow classmate carrier Izumo, which was launched in August 2013 and commissioned into the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in March.

The Japanese have said the primary role of the two ships are peaceful purposes, including humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.

Regional neighbors and rivals have questioned the ship's merit as a purely defensive vessel. They say, due to its size and deck configuration, it could serve as an aircraft carrier – which are considered offensive weapons and banned under Japan's constitution.

Japan's defense ministry, however, has denied that the JMSDF intends to use the Izumo-class for fixed-wing aircraft or for waging war.

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