JS Ise, the second and last of the Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers, has officially joined the fleet. Ise was commissioned into the Maritime Self Defense Forces on March 16th, 2011, five days after the Tohoku Earthquake. Ise was built by IHI at the Yokohama Shipyard and launched in August 2009.At 18,000 tons fully loaded, Hyuga and Ise are both two and a half times larger than the ships they were designed to replace, the Haruna-class destroyers. The MSDF seems to be following the lead of the U.S. Navy in fielding fewer, heavier ships.
There is some speculation that the Hyuga-class ships could embark a small contingent of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. However, the ship is not equipped with a bow ski-ramp necessary to launch such fighters, and the two hangar elevators are located down the center of the flight deck. Sorry, maybe the 22DDH ships will be more accommodating.
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The Royal Australian Navy is also commisioning a second helicopter carrier for the defence of Darwins strategic deepwater port which serves as a basing ground for Australian military Â deployment to places such as Afghanistan, it will be based at Royal Australian Navy base Coonowarra.
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