The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH-181) underway in the Pacific Ocean as U.S. Navy Sea Hawk helicopters hover nearby. (Photo: U.S. Navy)
Harold Hutchison, RealClearDefense/We Are The Mighty: Japan's Aircraft Carrier Comeback
Japan once had the second-most powerful carrier force in the world – on December 7, 1941. On that date, they had six fleet carriers and five light carriers in service, with two fleet carriers on the way. That was in comparison to the United States, which had seven fleet carriers in service with a whole lot of carriers on the way.
Today, Japan has regained the number two slot in terms of aircraft carriers. Currently, they have three in service and one on the way. Now, they don’t call their aircraft carriers aircraft carriers. Instead, they are calling them “helicopter destroyers” – to create the impression they are replacing the four vessels of the Haruna and Shirane classes. These two classes each packed two five-inch guns forward along with an eight-cell ASROC launcher. At the rear, they had an over-sized (for a destroyer) hangar capable of carrying three SH-3 Sea King (later four SH-60) helicopters.
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WNU Editor: China will catch up .... China Readies First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier and a Fleet of Destroyers (Sputnik).