Latest at the Diplomat: Navies are getting F-35B-curious again…
Suddenly, navies seem to be getting inordinately excited about the F-35B.
Earlier this week, reports emerged of discussions about the idea of modifying Japan’s Izumo class helicopter carriers to operate the F-35B. Japanese officials half-heartedly denied the report, which would apparently involve fitting a ski-jump and altering the flight deck to resist the high heat of the F-35B’s exhaust. At 24,000 tons, the Izumos are large enough to pose a credible threat if equipped with a group of Joint Strike Fighters, although such a complement would necessarily reduce their effectiveness in other roles.
The report of Japanese interest in upgrading the Izumos was followed hard by reports from South Korea suggesting an interest on the part of Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) on modifying the Dokdo class amphibious assault ships to carry the F-35B, as well.