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Japan launches largest warship for Navy

The new warship 'Izumo' is larger than the DDH-181 Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer (in pic) of the Maritime Self-Defense Force of Japan. An MSDF photo

TOKYO (BNS): Amidst its ongoing maritime skirmishes with China, Japan has unveiled a large warship - its largest ever since the World War II.

The 19,500-ton warship -- a helicopter carrier -- is named 'Izumo' and will be deployed with the country's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in March 2015, the official Kyodo news agency reported.

The naval ship was launched at the Japan Marine United Corp. plant in Kanagawa Prefecture on Tuesday.

The ship, having a flight deck of 250 meters long, is designed to carry up to 14 helicopters, according to some news reports.

Five helicopters can take off or land simultaneously on the destroyer that looks similar to an aircraft carrier, the Kyodo quoted MSDF officials as saying. The warship can also operate the US Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft as well but is not designed for any fixed-wing aircraft, the officials added.

Another destroyer of the Izumo size is under construction, the agency report said.

Japan is locked in a bitter maritime dispute with China over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, called the Senkakus by the Japanese and the Diaoyu by the Chinese. The flare-up has intensified further in recent times with both the countries conducting regular patrols around the isles.

Japan's naval beef-up comes at a time when China is bolstering its maritime prowess by inducting a number of advanced warships, including an aircraft carrier, in its Navy and empowering its coastal defence force by arming them with weapons.


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