YOKOHAMA --- The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Kaga helicopter carrier, its joint-largest warship, was commissioned here on March 22.
The ceremony to deliver the new destroyer to the Defense Ministry was held in a Yokohama shipyard that day.
The Kaga is 248 meters long, equivalent to the Izumo, which went into service in 2015, and has five helipads.
According to the MSDF, the Kaga’s construction costs totaled about 120 billion yen ($1.1 billion). It will be deployed to the No. 4 Escort Flotilla, based in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture.
The Kaga can carry 14 or more helicopters, which will mainly patrol for submarines. Those patrol helicopters will search for Chinese submarines, which are becoming difficult for Japan to detect due to improvements in their capabilities.
The Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that is scheduled to be introduced by the Ground Self-Defense Force can also land on and take off from the Kaga.
The MSDF now possesses four helicopter carriers: the Kaga, the Izumo and two 197-meter-long destroyers.
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