The Scoop Deck

Japan’s new warship — just don’t call it a carrier

hyuga underway

The Hyuga, an axial-decked, aviation-optimized, haze-gray warship -- marked with helicopter landing spots -- is not an aircraft carrier. It is a "helicopter destroyer." // Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force launched its latest Hyuga-class “helicopter destroyer,” — ahem — this month, which has revived attention to Japan’s gray, flat-decked, aviation-optimized warships that are NOT aircraft carriers. The latest ship, Ise, is the second in the class and is scheduled to formally join the MSDF in 2011.

The story about the Ise reminded Scoop Deck of a visit not too long ago to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, where the Japanese military wants to expand its footprint on the Horn of Africa and even build its own base. Japanese warships in the Gulf of Aden began escorting non-Japanese-flagged merchant ships this summer, even though they initially had only been assigned to protect their national-flagged shipping, said Capt. William Finn, commander of Camp Lemonier

“It shows their commitment to this mission,” Finn told Scoop Deck.

Japan already flies P-3 Orion patrol planes that provide maritime domain awareness over the Gulf of Aden, and light carriers destroyers like the Hyugas would seem well suited to providing helicopter support for the international anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa.


  1. Mike Burleson Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    And the HMS Invincible was just a “through-deck cruiser”. Tell that to the Argentines!

  2. Twitter Trackbacks for The Scoop Deck » Japan’s new warship — just don’t call it a carrier [] on Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    [...] The Scoop Deck » Japan’s new warship — just don’t call it a carrier – view page – cached #The Scoop Deck RSS Feed The Scoop Deck » Japan’s new warship — just don’t call it a carrier Comments Feed The Scoop Deck The efficacy of efficiency A forgotten voice from the Pacific War Makeover for ‘Mighty Mo’ — From the page [...]

  3. Gunner Says:
    September 1st, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    An insult to all tin-can sailors!

  4. Sea Links « New Wars Says:
    September 4th, 2009 at 11:04 am

    [...] Japan’s new warship — just don’t call it a carrier. [...]

  5. Guitar Tuition Reviews Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    No, they do call them carriers. They are “carrier destroyers”. Calling it a destroyer means its mission is to defend larger ships which is allowed under their constitution. It’s a lot different from a US aircraft carrier which is a primary offensive platform that needs other ships for short range defense.

  6. » Japan’s un-carrier Says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    [...] above is Japan’s Hyuga-class “helicopter destroyer” (different angle) alongside the USS George Washington (see opposite angle here). It is hard to see from this angle [...]

  7. Andrew Hope-Hall Says:
    November 24th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Similar in line to the German ‘pocket battleships’ built in the ’30s.
    However, I think the Japanese are a great deal more responsible now than the old imperial regime. If they want full-blown carriers – let them have them.

  8. Steve Says:
    February 14th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    C’mon, call it what it is, slap a new paint job on that thing, put a meatball in the center deck….and what do ya have??