Japan's largest helicopter destroyer enters service

Updated: 2015-03-25 17:48


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Japan's largest helicopter destroyer enters service

Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force members attend a ceremony to commission its largest ever helicopter-carrying destroyer "Izumo" at the port of Yokohama, on March 25 2015. [Photo/SIPA]

TOKYO - The largest helicopter destroyer of Japan's Self-Defense Forces "Izumo" has been handed over to the Maritime SDF since Wednesday, local media reported.

The 19,500-ton destroyer, measuring 248 meters in length and 38 meters in width, allows five helicopter to take off and land simultaneously. This ship could carry up to 14 helicopters and was built at a cost of around 120 billion yen (about $1 billion).

According to Japan's Kyodo News Agency, a ceremony was held at Japan Marine United Corp's factory in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture to celebrate the commissioning of the destroyer. It also reported that another Izumo-class destroyer is being built and is expected to put into service in 2017.

As the biggest warship in Japan's fleet since World War II, "Izumo" has raised eyebrows from Japan's neighboring counties because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier.

Though called a destroyer, some experts believe it could potentially be used in the future to launch fighter jets or other fixed wing aircraft.

However, under the pacifist Constitution, Japan is forbidden to possess aircraft carriers. Considering Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ambition to strengthen Japan's defense power, the move will cause further uneasy in the area.

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