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JDS Hyuga (DDH-181) Helicopter Carrier / Navy Destroyer (2009)

Authored By JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Last Updated: 10/8/2015

The JDS Hyuga DDH-181 helicopter carrier was called into action following the March 2011 Tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant.

Japan is a nation of 6,852 islands located in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Sea of Japan with the Sea of Okhotsk to the north and the East China Sea to the south. Her suspect neighbors are China and North Korea, both having large submarine fleets that could be a threat to her lifeline import shipping lanes that support the Japanese economy. Tensions with Russia concerning several island collections to the north are also noted. Unlike the United States, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) does not see the need to project its power on the seas around the world using the CV-class of aircraft carriers. Instead, the Japanese navy requires ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) defense and rescue support around her local waters. As such, she has gone on to build a comparably large escort destroyer-type vessel with a flat-top deck with the appearance akin to an aircraft carrier. The vessel is known under the name of "Hyuga" and is the lead ship of her Hyuga-class. Her construction was begun at the IHI Marine United Shipyard in Yokohama in 2002 and she was officially commissioned on March 18th, 2009.

Known formerly as the CVH Hyuga DDH-181, the vessel can support up to 11 navalized helicopters and (some sources state) as many as 22 "jump jet" type aircraft, presumably the up-and-coming Lockheed F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). She maintains a flush landing deck and starboard side island superstructure which makes her appear as a conventional aircraft carrier - or helicopter carrier in the least. Her standard air wing consists of three Mitsubishi SH-60K helicopters (based on the American Sikorsky S-70) and produced locally by Mitsubishi though with Japanese avionics and equipment for specialized search and rescue functions. Additionally, she carries one AgustaWestland MCH-101 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) utility helicopter. When fully loaded, the Hyuga displaces at 18,000 tons or more and can make 30 plus knots. The speed maximum was accomplished by using a COmbined Gas turbine And Gas turbine propulsion system (COGAG) for ships using two gas turbines connected to a single propeller shaft. A gearbox and clutches allow either of the turbines to drive the shaft or both of them combined. Fuel efficiency is obtained when the smaller turbine system is near the its maximum setting.

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Specifications for the
JDS Hyuga (DDH-181)
Helicopter Carrier / Navy Destroyer

Country of Origin: Japan
Initial Year of Service: 2009
Operators: Japan

Crew: 350

Length: 646 ft (196.90 m)
Beam: 108 ft (32.92 m)
Draught: 23 ft (7.01 m)
Displacement: 14,000 tons

Machinery: 2 x COGAG Gas turbines connected by gears to 1 x shaft delivering 100,000 shaft horsepower combined.

Surface Speed: 32 kts (37 mph)
Range: 0 miles (0 km)

16 x Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLSs)
16 x ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile)
12 x RUM-139 VL ASROC Anti-Submarine Missile
2 x 20mm Phalanx CIWS (Close-in Weapon System)
2 x 324mm torpedo tubes
4 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns

Air Arm: Up to 11 helicopters; standard air wing being 3 x Mitsubishi SH-60K helicopters and 1 x AgustaWestland MCH-101 ASW helicopter.

Ship Class: Hyuga-class
Number-in-Class: 2
Ships-in-Class: JDS Hyuga (DDH-181); JDS Ise (DDH-182)