To anyone looking at the vessel, it is clear that the ship is in fact a small aircraft carrier along the lines of the United Kingdom's Invincible Class carriers without the ski-jump bow. The 16DDH will in fact be very close in size and displacement to the Invincible class which can carry up to 22 aircraft (rotary and vstol) using two elevators similar to those depicted on this ship. It is clear that the capabilities of these vessels will far exceed the four helicopters currently being listed by the JMSDF.
It is likely that the vessel will be able to carry a minimum of 18 helicopters, and probably be capable of a mixed air wing that could include VSTOL jets, like the HArrier II jets, or the new Joint Strike Fighter being developed by the United States for deployment on US flat-deck amphibious assault vessels.
The 16DDH has no stated provisions for amphibious assault, no well deck, but could clearly be utilized to conduct over the horizon air assaults as the ships size makes it clear that it could carry far more than the 350 crew identified by the JMSDF. This 350 number is, in all likelihood, the naval crew of the vessel alone and other air wing or marine troop capabilities are simply not being published for political purposes.
The vessel will be powered by two GE Transportation power trains, each consisting of two LM2500s in a COGAG configuration, driving their respective propeller through a gearbox and shaft. The ship will have two shafts. The engines will each provide 25,000 shaft horsepower.
Two vessels are planned with the second vessel likely to be laid down in the 2008 time frame, for luanching in 2010 and comissioning in 2012.