Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Thread

OPSSG

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Staff member
...talk in Japanese media and forums on the next Carrier batch after Izumo and Kaga. There's some graphics rendering of carrier size of QE2 derived... However one thing that in my opinion something that has probable, is the scenario that it can happen if China move toward 4 or more carriers force. The talk on using namesake of Shokaku and Zuikaku is also come forward as those two are the best IJN carriers in WW2.
1. I honestly don’t think Japan’s goal is to match the Chinese in number of carriers. I think their goal is to have a superior air wing with tanking and AWACS for support. To effectively fight naval air battles, the total number of carriers needed by JMSDF is 3 (for 24 hour operations, with 2 carriers on the 1st 12 hour shift and the 3rd for the next 12 hours). In this regard, we should look at the 3 Ōsumi class replacements in 2030 to 2035.

2. In the interim, the JMSDF will operate F-35Bs off from the two 27,000 ton JDS Izumo and JDS Kaga, that each carry 12 to 14 fighters (for a total of 24 to 28 for their fleet air defence).

3. With the remaining 14 of the F-35Bs to be land based, as they lack a carrier, until the third is built (in the 2030s). And I am willing to bet the 3rd carrier will be larger than 27,000 tons.

4. I don’t look at the number of carriers that will China build to guess JMSDF carrier fleet size. I look at the number of F-35Bs the Japanese have ordered.
China's move and behavior toward their neighbors whether in SCS or in Japan Sea already open the neighborhood counters on carriers development.
Japan with both Izumo's, practically behaving like UK's Invincible class+, and ROK already shown their plan on similar move.
5. The Koreans are going to get 2 carriers.
Singapore already shown ST LPH concept, and even Indonesia's PAL already shown it's LPH concept. Most likely Singapore LPH's will come much sooner I believe...
6. I am not in favour of using the JMMS as anything more than helicopter carriers; as Singapore needs to get much better at ASW.
(a) I would prefer for the RSN and the RSAF to have a stronger ASW focus and for Singapore’s F-35Bs to be land based. To be more capable in ASW, the Seahawk fleet and Naval Rotary UAV fleet will need to grow. The Singapore Navy in the 2030s will need 12 to 14 naval helicopters (up from the current 8).​
(b) I don’t like the idea that losing 1 ship will also mean the loss of a squadron of fighters. I don’t like to concentrate risk. At most a flight of two F-35Bs will use the JMMS as divert landing point, if all our airbases are under attack.​
Back to Japan MSDF, unlike French and UK, Japan already have enough escorts to make 4 CAG possible. Thus I do believe they are now waiting on how China's will progress with carrier development. Instead of thinking on those USN 10-11 CAG (plus 6-8 LPH), China also creating 2-4 Japan's CAG and 1-2 ROK's CAG.
7. The real future threat to JMSDF is not Chinese carriers. It’s the PLA(N)’s rapidly modernising submarine force by 2035.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Japanese Ministry of Defence used to have* on its website the official interpretation of what the constitution allowed & did not. It did not say that aircraft carriers were not allowed because they were offensive, but that offensive aircraft carriers were not allowed. A very significant distinction!

As I've often pointed out to people who said that Japan's constitution forbids it from having aircraft carriers, or x or y other weapon, the constitution says nothing at all about any specific weapon. What matters is the interpretation of the difference between "waging war" & "self defence", & the official interpretation was very carefully worded in both Japanese & English not to exclude aircraft carriers per se, but only offensive ones - whatever they are.

*May still have, but I've not checked recently.
Agreed. They do explain. As extracted from the JSDF website:

“Under the Constitution, Japan is permitted to possess the minimum necessary level of self-defense capability. The specific limit is subject to change relative to the prevailing international situation, the level of military technologies, and various other factors, and it is discussed and decided through annual budget deliberations and other factors by the Diet on behalf of the people. Whether such capability constitutes a "war potential" that is prohibited by Article 9, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution must be considered within the context of Japan’s overall military strength. Therefore, whether the SDF should be allowed to possess certain armaments depends on whether such possession would cause its total military strength to exceed the constitutional limit.

The possession of armaments deemed to be offensive weapons designed to be used only for the mass destruction of another country, which would, by definition, exceed the minimum necessary level, is not permissible under any circumstances. For example, the SDF is not allowed to possess intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), long-range strategic bombers, or attack aircraft carriers.”

Further, the Japanese Government “has determined three conditions for the "use of force" as measures for self-defense permitted under Article 9 of the Constitution

1. When an armed attack against Japan has occurred, or when an armed attack against a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan occurs and as a result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to fundamentally overturn people’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

2. When there is no appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people.

3. Use of force to the minimum extent necessary.”
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
honestly don’t think Japan’s goal is to match the Chinese in number of carriers. I think their goal is to have a superior air wing with tanking and AWACS for support.
Agree on that, however if we see the progressing way of JMSDF doing on bringing aviation fleet capabilities from Haruna, then Shirane, toward Hyuga and Izumo, is always step by step development toward what they're facing.

When they're more focussing on Chinese and that time also Soviet submarine forces, they made Haruna's then Shirane's. Seems the thinking more on undersea threat, and especially with China at that time they have much superiority on surface fleet.
Toward Hyuga's development, I still see JMSDF see more capable Chinese submarine forces, but they're more or less still can handle Chinese surface fleet.

However with Izumo's, they begin to see China's surface fleet including their Carrier can't be handle by only formidable Destroyers fleet as before. The way they're progress on Izumo's (which I believe from beginning already prepared for fixed wing option) shown pattern that perhaps have similarities with RN Invincible thinking in the beginning. More on fleet protection while they are hunting submarines.

Thus, what they're going to progress after Izumo's considering they don't have outright superiority as before toward Chinese surface fleet ? Osumi's basically LPD, perhaps they will move to LPH for Osumi's replacement. However Osumi's are for Amphibious force, and not fleet protection. Which seems shown what follow after Osumi's also more on Amphibious assets.

As they has been progressing on class of two ships from Shirane's, Hyuga's and now Izumo's, then what follow seems going another two of larger flat tops. Question is, will it be replacement of Hyuga's (which then perhaps will be after 2030+), or they speed up looking on Development of Chinese surface fleet. Thus they need more flat tops to tackle both Chinese underwater and surface fleets (as before they only have to think the underwater threats).
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I would think further investment in carrier aviation will be a function countering China to an extent but also how they perceive long term US commitment to the region. Building a couple of larger carriers should be seen by the US as Japan doing more for mutual defence. Regardless, SK will be welcoming this possible development with the same enthusiasm as China.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
Regardless, SK will be welcoming this possible development with the same enthusiasm as China.
Well just like Japan seems know they can't catch up on one by one based with China's fleet development, ROK/SK also now they'll also not going to catch up on one on one base with Japan's fleet development ones.

Their Dokdo's practically in the same range with Hyuga's, what they're planning to have something like Izumo's. However what follow on Izumo's will be harder for ROK to follow, and I don't think they will follow that. Again this in the situation if Japan due progressing after Izumo's.
At most if some day China have Six to Eight CAG, Japan will follow with Four and ROK with two. It still mean that for China instead thinking of USN CAG, they also have to face growing CAG from its neighbors.
 
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OPSSG

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@Ananda, @John Fedup and @swerve

I suspect the Hyūga-class will be re-roled to support the amphibious brigade once the replacement for Osumi class are built.

I also suspect these new builds in the 2030s will dwarf the Izumo-class (and be built as true fleet defence carriers the JMSDF desires). The Japanese will keep their flat top numbers constant but use each succeeding design to increase their power projection capability. I think the Izumo-class is built to test the waters (to see if there is opposition at home to building carriers).

What to you think? Is what I speculate likely?
 
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Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
@Ananda, @John Fedup and @swerve

I suspect the Hyūga-class will be re-roled to support the amphibious brigade once the replacement for Osumi class are built.

I also suspect these new builds in the 2030s will dwarf the Izumo-class (and be built as true fleet defence carriers the JMSDF desires). The Japanese will keep their flat top numbers constant but use each succeeding design to increase their power projection capability. I think the Izumo-class is built to test the waters (to see if there is opposition at home to building carriers).

What to you think? Is what I speculate likely?
Of course we can now only speculate, but if the Ōsumi class will be replaced by 2-3 full "multipurpose aircraft destroyers", then there is indeed a big chance that the Hyuuga class have to replace the LHD task of the Ōsumis.
The only problem is that the Hyuugas do not have amphibious transport capabilities.
 
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Ananda

Well-Known Member
suspect the Hyūga-class will be re-roled to support the amphibious brigade once the replacement for Osumi class are built.
Just like Sandhi post, Hyuga is development of Shirane's. Unlike ROK Dokdo which seems the concept being build for used on both ASW role and Amphibious support.
Thus if they going to replace Osumi's, then I do tend to believe they will build more capable LPH.

Just base this speculation on how JMSDF operate so far, continues development on what they replace. Thus they are not tend so far re-roled their assets, but build on replacement.

I do agree on what comes after Izumo's is going to be the full scale carrier, and like you say Izumo's is testing the waters for Domestic constituents. The way they shown it as Helicopter carrier first then sell it to the public of the capabilities for VSTOL with MV-22 and then prepared this for F-35B (which everyone knows that the actual end game).

Question now if the next phase carrier will be VSTOL like QE2 or they will go Catobar. Japan already second biggest users of F-35, thus introducing F-35C is probable.
However from what I read, those F-35B will be operate by JASDF and not JMSDF. In such they will not give JMSDF their own Fighters. Thus perhaps JASDF will not be to keen operating F-35C. Which make whatever carrier development after Izumo's will still be STVOL and not Catobar.

Well unless they revive the Imperial Naval Air Command, which give JMSDF true capabilities for long range air offensive capabilities.
 
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OPSSG

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@Ananda

Thanks for the detailed response. The JSDF can make better use $ than to introduce the F-35C, when they already have 42 of the B on order. I think they will buy more F-35Bs later.

The JMSDF is executing their STOVL carrier plans, with many pieces to come together. I believe we will see the Japanese V-22s used in a refuelling role; and also for carrier onboard delivery (to deliver engines and other logistics needed).

I suspect some Japanese will view a Catobar carrier as an ‘attack aircraft carrier’ — this will be a domestic politics consideration.
 
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OPSSG

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Staff member
The only problem is that the Hyuugas do not have amphibious transport capabilities.
I am aware these two JMSDF ships have no well dock to support LCACs — they will use Chinooks to lift JSDF supplies to shore. Instead they serve as LHAs to support the Japanese Amphibious Brigade.

You are correct that the Hyūga-class have no well dock and this is a limitation of the class.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Their main role is ASW. They're well-equipped to act as ASW flotilla leaders, & are fast enough to keep up with JMSDF destroyers. A dock would be a hindrance in that role. They have big hull sonars, which isn't usual on landing ships.

I think that in support of amphibious operations their main value would be as command ships (they're fitted for it) & bases for helicopters, rather than amphibious transports. One Hyuga as the flagship, packed with both attack & transport helicopters, plus a couple of Oosumis carrying vehicles, troops & their equipment . . . . and if fixed-wing air support is needed, Izumo or her sister.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Just like Sandhi post, Hyuga is development of Shirane's. Unlike ROK Dokdo which seems the concept being build for used on both ASW role and Amphibious support.
Thus if they going to replace Osumi's, then I do tend to believe they will build more capable LPH.
I think they'd build more capable LPDs or LHDs, not LPHs. D for dock. An LPH does not have a dock.
 

ngatimozart

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Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Question now if the next phase carrier will be VSTOL like QE2 or they will go Catobar. Japan already second biggest users of F-35, thus introducing F-35C is probable.
However from what I read, those F-35B will be operate by JASDF and not JMSDF. In such they will not give JMSDF their own Fighters. Thus perhaps JASDF will not be to keen operating F-35C. Which make whatever carrier development after Izumo's will still be STVOL and not Catobar.

Well unless they revive the Imperial Naval Air Command, which give JMSDF true capabilities for long range air offensive capabilities.
I don't see the the Japanese acquiring the F-35C and building CATOBAR CV capability. Like @OPSSG has posted above, their Constitution forbids offensive weapons and a CATOBAR CV could be a capability too far domestically, which would revive memories of the Imperial Navy and create bitter political divisions within Japanese society. However a light / medium STOVL CV with F-35B on board may be more acceptable, because it could be sold as a defensive asset. Semantics I know, but politics are all about perceptions, and this would be a political sell to the general population.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Besides the political obstacles to CATOBAR, this alternative is unlikely to be in the light/medium class as EMALS and 3 big GTs would lead to a larger vessel, another likely political obstacle.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member
don't see the the Japanese acquiring the F-35C and building CATOBAR CV capability. Like @OPSSG has posted above, their Constitution forbids offensive weapons and a CATOBAR CV could be a capability too far domestically, which would revive memories of the Imperial Navy and create bitter political divisions within Japanese society.
Agree on that, that's why on my post I wrote unless they're reviving the function similar to IJN Air Service/Arm (Kaigun Kokutai), the chances of Catobar Aircraft is very small.
As long as the carriers fighter wing still belong to JASDF (as Japan already stated in media on F-35B aboard Izumo's), then it practically small chances of JASDF will ever want to operate Catobar Aircraft like F-35C.

My post on probable F-35C purely on logistical point of view, as they're already operating A and B version. Still I'm thinking however small, there's threshold that can be seen if they are going to do that. For me the threshold is reviving function of Kaigun Kokutai. If somehow in future they're ever cross that threshold, then it's mean they are building more robust carrier capabilities.

Again I agree it's very hard threshold politically to be ever being cross, but still there's chance on that however small. After all a decade ago when they're building Hyuga's, there's practically no one (at least most analyst) think their next step will be progressing toward STVOL carrier concept.
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
..., ROK/SK also now they'll also not going to catch up on one on one base with Japan's fleet development ones.

Their Dokdo's practically in the same range with Hyuga's, ...
The Dokdo class is about the same size as the Hyugas & has a flat deck & a hangar - & that's it. It's much slower (not surprising: much less installed power), has lighter defensive armament, & a dock - which Hyuga doesn't. Hyuga has much better ASW sensors, e.g. - a big hull-mounted sonar, & I think it's probably much quieter.

They're designed for different purposes, Dokdo for amphibious assault & Hyuga & Ise for ASW. Each is much, much better at what it's designed for than the other ones role.
 

Ananda

Well-Known Member

From Naval News with Xavier interview. JMSDF New Multi Purpose Frigates, with two under construction. Those are supposed to be part of 22 strong new Frigates fleets.

This design also part of design that Japan try to export. Quite nice design, shown modular design of 4 design being overed. One for AAW, One for Multi Purpose, One for Naval OPV/Corvettes, and One for Coast Guard OPV.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member

From Naval News with Xavier interview. JMSDF New Multi Purpose Frigates, with two under construction. Those are supposed to be part of 22 strong new Frigates fleets.

This design also part of design that Japan try to export. Quite nice design, shown modular design of 4 design being overed. One for AAW, One for Multi Purpose, One for Naval OPV/Corvettes, and One for Coast Guard OPV.
"The crew complement will be quite low, at about 90 sailors, indicating a high level of automation on board."
Just 90 persons for a 5500 ton, 132,5 m long warship...

"Very high speed"
Well, 30 kts is normal for that kind of ships.
 

KiwiRob

Well-Known Member
I don't see the the Japanese acquiring the F-35C and building CATOBAR CV capability. Like @OPSSG has posted above, their Constitution forbids offensive weapons and a CATOBAR CV could be a capability too far domestically, which would revive memories of the Imperial Navy and create bitter political divisions within Japanese society. However a light / medium STOVL CV with F-35B on board may be more acceptable, because it could be sold as a defensive asset. Semantics I know, but politics are all about perceptions, and this would be a political sell to the general population.
That's not really correct anymore, in July 2014 the Japanese government approved a reinterpretation which gave more powers to the Japan Self-Defense Forces, allowing them to defend other allies in case of war being declared upon them, thus allowing offensive weapons. In September 2015, the Japanese National Diet made the reinterpretation official by enacting a series of laws allowing the Japan Self-Defense Forces to provide material support to allies engaged in combat internationally. The stated justification was that failing to defend or support an ally would weaken alliances and endanger Japan.

 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
That's not really correct anymore, in July 2014 the Japanese government approved a reinterpretation which gave more powers to the Japan Self-Defense Forces, allowing them to defend other allies in case of war being declared upon them, thus allowing offensive weapons. In September 2015, the Japanese National Diet made the reinterpretation official by enacting a series of laws allowing the Japan Self-Defense Forces to provide material support to allies engaged in combat internationally. The stated justification was that failing to defend or support an ally would weaken alliances and endanger Japan.

Wikipedia isn't a reliable source. I will still stand by what I said because I believe that F-35C and CATOBAR CV are bridge to far at the moment precisely because of their constitution. The Diet may have changed laws but there is still significant domestic political opposition to it. The F-35B and the STOVL carriers still meet the criteria for the law changes and helping out allies, but also I think save a certain amount of face with the domestic audience. There's a lot more at play here than there would be in say South Korea or Singapore.
 
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