Eye on China: Japan launches first full aircraft carrier since World War II – Global News (Trending Perfect)


New Delhi: Japan has achieved a milestone in its military modernization by converting the warship Kaga into the country's first full-fledged warship Aircraft carrier Since World War II. Kaga, who previously worked as Helicopter carrierhas undergone upgrades to deploy the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, heralding a new era in Japan's defense capabilities amid rising regional tensions.
The unveiling of the updated Kaga at Kure Naval Base in Hiroshima is evidence of this Japan's efforts To enhance its naval power. Robert Dujarric, co-director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University's Tokyo campus, emphasized that while the Kaga alone may not radically change Japan's military dynamics, the advanced aircraft it carries enhances its operational capabilities. “The broader advantage it will provide is a greater ability to operate and interact with U.S. and other forces in the region, giving Japan some of the same toys as the big boys,” Dujarric noted.
Originally launched in 2015 as part of the Izumo class, the largest warships built by Japan since World War II, the Kaga has been refitted at a cost of 115 billion yen (US$758 million) to accommodate Lockheed, according to a South China Morning Post report. Martin. F-35B fighters. This represents a shift from its initial capacity to carry up to eight helicopters. The retrofit includes a redesigned bow section and a new heat-resistant surface coating to withstand the heat of the F-35B engine during vertical takeoff and landing.
The operational concept of deploying Kaga as an aircraft carrier is still under discussion. Ryo Hinata Yamaguchi, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Tokyo, pointed out the logistical nuances, given that the F-35Bs, operated by the Air Self-Defense Forces, will not be permanently stationed on Kaga. The strategic use of the carrier, whether to control sea areas or support amphibious units, has not yet been fully clarified.
Despite its advanced capabilities, analysts remain skeptical about the Kaga's ability to significantly influence the regional balance of power, especially in the face of China's expanding aircraft carrier fleet. Hinata Yamaguchi suggested that while the refitted aircraft carrier may pose an obstacle to potential territorial ambitions in the South China Sea or the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, China is unlikely to view it as a major threat.
The introduction of the Kaga, along with its sister ship Izumo, into active service underscores Japan's commitment to strengthening its maritime defense and enhancing interoperability with allies.
How will the F-35 Lightning II enhance Japan's defense capabilities?
The F-35 Lightning II, especially in the vertical take-off variant deployed on the newly upgraded Kaga carrier, significantly enhances Japan's defense capabilities through several key developments:
Stealth technology: The F-35 is known for its stealth capabilities, making it difficult for enemy radars to detect it. This allows Japan to conduct surveillance and strikes while reducing the risk of detection by adversaries, providing a strategic advantage in maintaining airspace superiority.
Advanced avionics and sensors: Equipped with modern avionics and sensor systems, the F-35 can collect and share critical intelligence in real time. This capability ensures that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces have comprehensive awareness of the battlefield, facilitating informed decision-making and strategic planning.
Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL): The F-35B's VTOL capability enables operations from a variety of platforms, including Kaga, without the need for conventional runways. This flexibility allows for the rapid deployment and repositioning of air forces in response to threats, enhancing Japan's ability to protect its maritime interests and defend its territory.
Interoperability with allies: The integration of F-35s into the Japanese military enhances interoperability with key allies, particularly the United States, which also operates F-35s. These commonalities allow for seamless joint operations and enhance collective defense capabilities in the region.



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