Shipbuilding company Japan Marine United (JMU) Corporation unveiled at the 18-20 November DSEI Japan 2019 defence exhibition in Chiba the preliminary design of a landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship that it plans to propose to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
Unlike the service's current Izumo-class helicopter carriers, JMU's Future Landing Helicopter Dock will be a roll-on/roll-off ship capable of deploying armoured amphibious assault vehicles and air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC), in addition to having a full-length flight deck to support helicopter operations.
The ship, which will have a crew of about 500, can accommodate up to five helicopters on its flight deck, with additional space for about five more helicopters in the vessel's two aircraft hangars located beneath the flight deck.
JMU's design shows that the ship will feature three more hangars, the use of which will depend on the JMSDF's requirements. The LHD will be capable of embarking up to two (LCAC)-like vessels in its well deck and more than 20 amphibious assault vehicles, such as the BAE AAV7A1, in its forward storage section, according to a company official.
However, no information was provided about the number of troops the ship will be capable of carrying.
According to the company, the LHD, which will be capable of reaching a top speed of 24 kt, is expected to be 220 m long, have a beam of 38 m, a draught of 7 m, and a standard displacement of 19,000 tonnes.
Although the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has yet to set out a formal requirement for this warship type, a company official told Jane's that JMU is anticipating that the announcement will be made in the coming years.
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