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Kaga sails again, Helicopter destroyer finally converted to aircraft carrier, first carrier for Japan since 1945


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Nice to see the conversion process has been fishished and she's sea-worthy.  Thanks for sharing the news & videos.



MSDF destroyer showcases new flexibility as ‘aircraft carrier’

By TAKATERU DOI/ Senior Staff Writer

November 14, 2023 

Although technically not called an "aircraft carrier," the Maritime Self-Defense Force's largest destroyer has begun sea trials following modifications to allow fighter jets to take off and land on its flight deck.

The Kaga departed from the MSDF Kure Base in Hiroshima Prefecture on the morning of Nov. 13, testing its speed and other capabilities in the waters off Japan.

The modifications to the Kaga included changes to the ship's bow, which was made square, and the addition of markings for F-35B aircraft to conduct takeoffs and landings on the vessel. 

These changes have given the Kaga the appearance of an aircraft carrier.

However, the Japanese government has been careful to avoid calling its modified Izumo-class destroyers aircraft carriers due to the country’s long-held exclusively defensive security policies under its pacifist Constitution.

The government's explanation is that the Kaga destroyer and its sister ship, the Izumo, are multi-functional ships that can also handle aircraft. They serve as transportation vessels and medical care facilities, among other roles, and are not designed solely for carrying and launching fighter jets, it argues.

The Kaga, originally designed as a helicopter carrier, was commissioned in March 2017.

At 248 meters long and 38 meters wide, it is the largest destroyer in the MSDF's fleet along with the Izumo.

The modification of the Kaga followed the government’s decision in 2018 to convert the Izumo-class destroyers into de facto aircraft carriers, and subsequent plans to deploy U.S.-made F-35B fighter jets, which are capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings.

The state-of-the-art stealth fighters will be deployed as early as fiscal 2024.

The Kaga began undergoing modifications at the end of fiscal 2021. The flight deck, which was originally a trapezoid with a tapered bow, was changed to a square shape to ensure the proper takeoff distance for the F-35B and to reduce turbulence.

The deck’s heat resistance was strengthened to enable vertical landings of the fighters and yellow markings were added to serve for takeoffs.

The Kaga now has a similar appearance to the America-class amphibious assault ships of the U.S. Navy.

The Izumo has also completed the first phase of its update, which included heat resistance reinforcement and the painting of markings.

The second phase of the modification, which will include changes to the shape of Izumo's bow, is scheduled to begin in fiscal 2024.



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In popular culture[edit]

Kaga's mascot is the personification of her World War II version of Kaga in Kantai Collection, where she is a major character. It began when Kadokawa Games shared official art on Twitter of Kantai Collection Kaga holding a scale model of the new Kaga the day after she was launched.[19] It then continued when Kaga participated in the Indo Southeast Asia Deployment (ISEAD) exercise in 2018 where she sailed to the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka.[20] Upon her return to Kure, Kantai Collection provided new art of their personification of Kaga wearing the new ship's insignia, with her rigging updated to match that of the new ship and featuring helicopters instead of World War II aircraft.[21]



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Kaga Misaki (加賀岬) Full (On vocal + Lyrics Romaji + English)

Edited to add:  Apparently, translations vary somewhat...

KanColle - Kaga Misaki (加賀岬) Cape Kaga - [Full Version] - English/日本語 lyrics


Edited by Wolfswetpaws
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9 hours ago, iDuckman said:

There are strong factions in Japan that believe this is overstepping their constitutional limitations.   Ironically, the author of that constitution, the United States, may be the biggest supporter of the move.



Unfortunately, as admirable as their decision to renounce expansionism and militarism is, it seems some of their neighbors don't think likewise, and it may be inevitable that Japan will have to revise its constitution.  This has been an ongoing dilemma for decades, and I remember one scene from an animated movie called 'Patlabor 2' almost 30 years ago which touched on some of the philosophical and social issues that are involved as well (though the main situation involved a question of why the main characters are opposing a criminal who might be in the right in calling into question Japan's attitudes towards the rest of the world in that fictional future).  




Edited by Jakob Knight
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