Tokyo, Nov. 27 (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government is considering including a plan to introduce a multipurpose aircraft “mother ship” in its new basic defense program to be compiled at the end of this year, informed sources have said.
The envisaged ship, which is expected to effectively play a role as an aircraft carrier enabling takeoffs and landings by fighter jets, is aimed at thwarting threats from Chinese military activities off the Nansei chain of remote islands in southwestern Japan, the sources said.
The government is set to decide carefully on the details of the mother ship, including the purposes of its operations and its aircraft carrying capacity at ordinary times, so as to avoid it being regarded as an attack aircraft carrier, which exceeds the scope of Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy, the sources said.
Specifically, the government plans to renovate the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Izumo destroyer, the country’s largest destroyer, which has a long deck extending from the ship’s bow to its stern.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has called on the government to acquire F-35B state-of-the-art stealth fighters of the U.S. military capable of conducting short takeoffs and vertical landings for deployment on the envisaged carrier.
The carrier needs to have a deck with resistance to high heat caused by takeoffs and landings by such fighters.
The government’s current view is that Japan is not allowed to possess attack aircraft carriers under the country’s pacifist constitution.
The country needs to assure that the envisaged carrier will be operated within the range of its defense-oriented policy, a senior official of Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, said.