Report: Japan, South Korea Consider Naval Ship Updates to Accommodate F-35s

Japan and South Korea are studying ways to modify their respective ships to support the operations of the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, Defense News reported Tuesday.

Anonymous military sources from both countries said that Japan plans to carry the F-35B short take-off vertical landing variant aboard its Izumo-class helicopter destroyer, while South Korea looks to operate the same aircraft on its Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships.

Japan could deploy F-35Bs to the country’s southwestern islands, which lack long runways needed to accommodate conventional fighters, in response to North Korea’s missile tests and China’s military modernization, the report said.

Sources added that the South Korean military wants to maximize the strategic value of the Dokdo-class ship’s features.

Japan and South Korea have one Izumo and Dokdo-class ship in service as well as a second ship of each class that is under construction.

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