Japan Puts Modified JS Kaga DDH On Sea Trials

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Japan Puts Modified JS Kaga DDH On Sea Trials
JMDSF has announced the sea trials of the JS Kaga helicopter carrier (DDH) modified to carry F-35B STOVL fighter jets.

Izumo-class helicopter carrier JS Kaga, originally meant to carry helicopters, was modified to accommodate and operate F-35B STOVL (Short Take-off Vertical Landing) fighter jets. The most essential modification is the change of runway shape to a rectangular form. While F-35B can take off vertically, this reduces fuel economy and combat load. This necessitated the modification of the runway to provide the needed length.

DDH-184-JS-Kaga before conversion TurDef.jpg

Other platforms were brought up as the modifications were carried out.

In 2022, Baykar CTO Haluk Bayraktar offered Bayraktar TB3 STOL UCAVs for the Izumo-class helicopter carriers as an additional platform for ISR missions during an interview with Nikkei Asia. Bayraktar TB3 reached 32 hours of endurance during its 13th test flight and proved itself against strong winds, which would be helpful for maritime missions. TB3 is designed to take off with engine power without a catapult system. When it lands on the flight deck, it will not require a recovery system. 

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