Tokyo (CNN)Japan is poised to put its first aircraft carriers to sea since World War II, refitting its Izumo-class warships to carry US-designed F-35B fighter jets, the government announced Tuesday.
In its 10-year Defense Program Guidelines, Tokyo said it will buy 42 of the stealthy F-35Bs, which are designed for short-run take offs and vertical landings.
Planes - Ships - JS - Izumo - JS
Those planes will be available for deployment aboard two flat-top ships, the JS Izumo and JS Kaga, which at more than 800 feet long and displacing 27,000 tons are the largest ships in the Japanese fleet.
"Under the drastically changing security environment around Japan, the government will take all possible measures to protect the lives and assets of Japanese people," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday in announcing the plan.
Review - Defense - Guideline - People - World
"The review of the new defense guideline is extremely meaningful to show the Japanese people and the world what is truly necessary in our defense to protect the people and to serve as the cornerstone of the future (for the Japan Self-Defense Forces)."
The new guidelines listed China, North Korea and Russia, as well as the United States and NATO, as entities with massive military capabilities with which Japan must concern itself.
Japan - Air - Forces - F-35A - Jet
Japan's Air Self-Defense Forces' new F-35A jet fighter arrives at Misawa Air Base on the northern end of the main island of Honshu in January.
The Izumo and Kaga have been carrying helicopters designed for anti-submarine warfare since entering service over the past three years. They will need to have their decks reinforced to accommodate the heavier F-35Bs, as well as the heat and force from the jets' thrusters when they land vertically.
Japan - Order - F-35A - Jets - Runways
Japan will also increase its order for F-35A jets, which take off and land on conventional runways, to 105, the government said. Forty-two of those jets are in service or were part of earlier Japanese orders....
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNN
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