Japanese aircraft carriers: history of creation, modern models

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Japanese aircraft carriers: history of creation, modern models
Japanese aircraft carriers: history of creation, modern models

With such highly maneuverable combat units as aircraft carriers, naval forces can easily take key positions in the expanses of the world's oceans. The fact is that a warship, which belongs to the class of aircraft carriers, is provided with all the necessary means for transporting, taking off and landing combat aircraft, which represent its main strike force. According to military experts, at the beginning of World War II, Japan had a significant number of ships of this class. This predetermined the fate of Japan's WWII, whose aircraft carriers were considered among the most powerful in the world. You will learn about the history of their creation from this article.

On the birth of the Imperial Navy

Japan acquired its first warship only in 1855. The ship was purchased from the Dutch and named "Kanko-maru". Until 1867, Japan did not have a unified navalforces. Of course, they were, but they were fragmented and consisted of several small fleets that were subordinate to different Japanese clans. Despite the fact that the new 122nd emperor came to power at the age of 15, his reforms in the maritime sector turned out to be quite effective. According to experts, in scale they can be compared with the reforms carried out by Peter the Great. Two years after Meiji came to power, Japan acquired the most powerful American-made battleship. In the early years, it was especially difficult for the emperor to lead the country. However, he took the warships from the clans and formed a fleet.

On the construction of the first aircraft carriers

Soon, America and Great Britain, having remade civilian ships, created the first aircraft carriers. The Japanese government realized that the future of the navy of each developed state lies with ships of this class. For this reason, in 1922, the first aircraft carrier, the Jose, was put into operation in the Land of the Rising Sun. This 168-meter ship with a displacement of 10 thousand tons transported 15 aircraft. It was used in the 1930s when Japan was fighting China. During World War II, the Jose was used as a training ship. In addition, having converted one of the ships, the Japanese designers created another aircraft carrier, which is known in history as the Akagi.

Japanese aircraft carriers

Compared to the Jose, this 249-meter vessel with a displacement of more than 40,000 tons looked more impressive. The Akagi entered service with the Imperial Navy in 1927. However, inbattle near Midway this ship was sunk.

About the Washington Maritime Agreement

According to this document, signed in 1922, for the countries that took part in the agreement, certain restrictions were provided for in naval affairs. As in other states, Japanese aircraft carriers could be represented in any number. The restrictions affected the indicator of their total displacement. For example, for Japan it should not exceed 81 thousand tons.

In addition, each state had the right to have two battleships for landing aircraft. The document stated that the displacement of each battleship should be up to 33 thousand tons. According to military experts, the terms of the Washington Naval Agreement applied only to those ships whose displacement exceeded 10 thousand tons. Given the above restrictions, the government of the country of the Rising Sun decided to replenish its Navy with three large Japanese aircraft carriers. Each aircraft carrier will have a displacement of 27 thousand tons. Despite the fact that it was planned to build three ships, only two Japanese aircraft carriers were enough time and money (photo of aircraft carriers in the article). The United States of America, Great Britain and other colonial countries considered the Asian territory only as a source of rubber, tin and oil.

This state of affairs did not suit Japan. The fact is that the Land of the Rising Sun sought to use minerals purely for its own purposes. As a result, a dispute arose between the colonial countries and Japan regarding certainregions of Singapore, India and Indochina, which could only be resolved by military means. Since, as the Emperor expected, the sea would become the place of the main battles, the Japanese made the main emphasis on the development of shipbuilding. As a result, the Naval Agreement ceased to be implemented by the participating states with the outbreak of war.

Start of hostilities

According to experts, the number of aircraft carriers in Japan during the Second World War was the largest in the world. The Imperial Navy had ten aircraft carriers. Unlike Japan, there were only 7 aircraft carriers in the United States. The difficulty for the American fleet command was also that such a small number of ships had to be correctly distributed on both sides of the United States, namely in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Despite the fact that during the Second World War there were more aircraft carriers in Japan, the United States of America benefited from battleships. The fact is that there were much more American battleships, and they turned out to be much better.

About the Hawaiian operation

As a result of difficult relations between Japan and the United States, seeking to spread their influence on the Asian coast, the Imperial Navy decided to attack the American military bases located on the Hawaiian Islands. Even before the Second World War, Japanese aircraft carriers in the amount of 6 units in December 1941 transported 350 aircraft. Cruisers (2 units), battleships (2 ships), destroyers (9 units) and submarines (6) were used as escorts. The attack on Pearl Harbor was carried out in two stages by Zero fighters, Kate torpedo bombersand Val bombers. The Imperial Army managed to destroy 15 US ships. However, according to experts, those American ships that were not in the Hawaiian Islands at that time were not affected. After the destruction of the Japanese military base, war was declared. Six months later, 4 of the 6 imperial aircraft carriers participating in the operation were sunk by the American fleet.

About the classification of aircraft-carrying submarines

All over the world there is a classification according to which aircraft carriers are divided into heavy, escort and light. The former are the most powerful strike force of the fleet and transport more than 70 aircraft. Up to 60 aircraft are transported on escort ships. Such ships perform the function of escort. Light aircraft carriers can accommodate no more than 50 air units.

Depending on the size of Japan's aircraft carriers were large, medium and small. According to experts, such a classification was considered unofficial. Formally, there was a class of ships - an aircraft carrier. This name has been applied to both small and huge counterparts. Aircraft carriers differed only in their dimensions. Only one project presented medium ships - the Soryu ship, which was later renamed Hiryu.

Japanese submarine aircraft carrier

The Japanese aircraft carrier in the history of the Imperial Navy is also known as "Unryu". The Land of the Rising Sun had another subspecies of aircraft carriers, which were floating bases for the transport of seaplanes. These air vehicles could take off and land on watersurface. America has not used such weapons for a long time, but several such aircraft carriers were created in Japan.

new japanese aircraft carrier

Kamikawa Maru

Initially, the ships were used as passenger-cargo ships. According to experts, these ships were designed by Japanese designers in such a way that in the future the ships could be converted into aircraft carriers. During World War II, Japan had four such ships. These hydrocarriers were equipped with artillery and special means, with the help of which the hydroplanes were stored, launched and technically maintained. In addition, these Japanese aircraft carriers should have been equipped with workshops and technical storerooms by increasing the number of rooms. To accommodate the crew, it was necessary to equip a lot of additional cabins. Of the four aircraft carriers during the Second World War, three ships sank in Japan.


Built at the Kawasaki shipyard in Kobe. This 113-meter ship with a displacement of 5,000 tons was used both as a floating base for hydroaviation and as an ordinary cargo craft. Work on the project began long before World War II. The Akitsushima entered service with the Imperial Navy in 1942. To secure a safe route between the United States and Australia, the Americans, along with the Allies, mounted a second offensive against Japan in the Pacific. The Akitsushima mother ship was used in the battles for Guadalcanal. Depth charges were dropped by means of seven Type 94 bombers (1 pc.) And 95 (6units). With the help of Akitsushima, an aviation group of 8 aircraft was transported, as well as fuel supplies, spare parts and ammunition for them. According to experts, the Japanese were not ready for the battle. The attack on the Imperial Fleet was made very unexpectedly, as a result of which the initiative was lost, and the Land of the Rising Sun was forced to defend itself. In this battle, Akitsushima survived, but already in 1944, the Americans managed to sink this floating base.


In 1941, the imperial fleet was replenished with two aircraft carriers, which are listed in the technical documentation under the name "Shokaku", later - "Zuikaku". By the beginning of World War II, Japanese aircraft carriers were the only large ships not converted from civilian liners with a waterline belt of 21.5 cm. They reached a length of 250 m, armor thickness - 17 cm. At that time, according to military experts, Shokaku were the most protected ships. Equipped with 127mm anti-aircraft artillery and transported 84 aircraft.

how many aircraft carriers does japan have

In a combat battle, the ship withstood 5 torpedo hits. However, the aircraft carriers were not protected from enemy bombing. The fact is that most of the deck was made of wood. "Shokaku" involved in the Hawaiian operation. Soon both ships were sunk by the US Navy.


Used by Japanese aircraft carriers in World War II. Initially, they were developed as civilian liners. However, as experts are convinced, it is possible that Japanese designers from the veryAt first they planned to remake them for military purposes. And in order to mislead the participants in the Washington Maritime Agreement, the Junye was "camouflaged" as a passenger one. The proof of this is the presence of reinforced armor in the lower part of the ships. In 1942, the imperial ships were successfully attacked by American submarines. At the end of World War II, Japan's Junye aircraft carriers were sent for scrap.

About the big ships Taiho and Shinano

In the battles in the Philippine Sea, the Taiho aircraft carrier was used as a flagship. And it is not surprising, since this 250-meter ship with a displacement of 33 thousand tons was able to carry 64 aircraft. However, a couple of weeks after going to sea, the Taiho was discovered by an American submarine. This was followed by a torpedo attack, as a result of which the Imperial ship and 1650 Japanese on board were sunk.

The Japanese aircraft carrier "Shinano" at that time was considered the largest. However, all information about it was so classified that not a single photograph of this ship was taken. For this reason, the largest was the 1961 Enterprises. "Sinano" began to operate already at the end of World War II. Since by that time the outcome of the battle was already a foregone conclusion, the ship was on the water for only 17 hours. According to experts, such a large percentage of Japanese aircraft-carrying ships destroyed is due to their inability to continue further navigation with a roll that occurs as a result of a torpedo hit.


These are Japanese aircraft carriers of World War IIwar. Japanese designers started laying the foundation stone for ships of this type in the 1940s. They planned to build 6 units, but only managed to build 3. Unryu is an improved prototype of Hiryu, which was built before the war. These aircraft-carrying units entered service with the Imperial Navy at the end of 1944. 6 127-mm artillery guns, 93 anti-aircraft guns of 25 mm caliber were used as weapons. and 6x28 PU NURS (120 mm). To destroy enemy watercraft in the "Unryu" there were depth charges (type 95). The aviation group was represented by 53 aircraft. According to experts, now their use did not make sense. These ships could not influence the outcome of the war, since most of the pilots capable of raising and landing aircraft on such floating bases had already died. As a result, two "Unryu" were sunk, and the last one was dismantled for metal.


Because before the start of World War II, Japan and other participating countries still adhered to the naval agreement, but were already preparing for possible attacks, it was decided to equip the Imperial Navy with several ships that would be used as floating bases for submarines. In 1935, they created light passenger ships with a displacement of 14,200 tons.

Structurally, these ships were ready for further modernization in order to eventually turn them into light aircraft carriers. The Zuiho could carry out combat missions already at the end of December 1940. It was at this time that they were launched. The floating craft was equipped with a 127-mm anti-aircraft gun in the amount of 8 pieces and 56automatic anti-aircraft guns of 25 mm caliber. Carried a ship up to 30 aircraft. The crew is 785 people. However, during the battles, the aircraft carriers were sunk by the enemy.


This aircraft carrier was assembled in Nagasaki by employees of the Mitsubishi shipyard. A total of three ships were made. Each of them had a length of 180 m and a displacement of 18 thousand tons. The vessel transported 23 aircraft with all accessories. The enemy target was destroyed by six 120mm naval guns (Type 10) and four 25mm guns. (Type 96). The aircraft carriers entered service with the Imperial Navy in September 1940. During World War II, all three ships were sunk.

About the submarine carrier submarine

According to military experts, aircraft carriers manufactured in the United States and Great Britain used more advanced weapons. In addition, the technical condition of the ships was better than in the imperial ships. However, in the creation of its aircraft carriers, Japan could surprise with its approach to the design of military equipment. For example, this state had a submarine fleet. Each Japanese submarine carrier could carry several seaplanes. They were shipped disassembled. If it was necessary to take off, then the plane, using special skids, was rolled out, assembled, and then lifted into the air by means of a catapult. According to experts, the Japanese submarine aircraft carrier was not used in major battles, but it was quite effective if you need to perform anyrelated task. For example, in 1942, the Japanese planned large-scale forest fires in Oregon. For this purpose, Japan's I-25 submarine aircraft carrier approached the coast of the United States, and then launched a Yokosuka E14Y floatplane from inside. Flying over the forests, the pilot dropped two 76-kilogram incendiary bombs. Due to unclear reasons, the expected effect did not occur, but the appearance of a Japanese aircraft over America seriously frightened the military command and leadership of the country. According to experts, such a case, when the war could directly hook on America itself, was a single one. About what Japanese aircraft carrier submarines were used, further.

On the creation of aircraft-carrying submarines

The first draft of the Japanese aircraft carrier submarine was completed in 1932. The model in the technical documentation is listed as I-5 type J-1M. This ship had a special hangar and a crane, through which the German Gaspar U-1 seaplanes were raised and lowered. Its licensed production in Japan began as early as 1920. Due to the fact that the submarine was not equipped with a catapult and springboard, further construction of I-5 was abandoned. In addition, there were many complaints about the quality of the case.

In 1935, the Japanese began to design a new submarine, which in the history of shipbuilding is known as the model I-6 type J-2. For her, the E9W aircraft was specially developed. Despite the fact that, unlike the previous submarine aircraft carrier, the new ship had a number of advantages, the Japanese fleet command was not happy with it. ATthe new version also lacked a catapult and springboard, which adversely affected the launch speed of the seaplane. For this reason, both models of submarines remained in single copies.

The breakthrough in the creation of submarine aircraft carriers occurred in 1939 with the advent of the I-7 type J-3. The new version was already with a catapult and springboard. In addition, the submarine turned out to be longer, thanks to which it was possible to equip a hangar with two Yokosuka E14Y seaplanes, which was used both as a reconnaissance aircraft and a bomber. However, due to the insignificant stock of bombs, it was significantly inferior to the main Imperial bombers. The next samples of submarines were three ships I-9, I-10 and I-11 of type A-1. According to experts, Japanese submarines were regularly upgraded. As a result, the Imperial Navy acquired several submarines V-1, V-2, V-3 and I-4 of the A-2 type. On average, their number varied between 18-20 units. According to military experts, these submarines practically did not differ from each other. Of course, each craft was equipped with its own equipment and weapons, but they were united by the fact that the air group in all four models consisted of E14Y seaplanes.


As a result of the unsuccessful bombardment of the American base "Pearl Harbor" and subsequent major defeats in naval battles, the Japanese command came to the conclusion that the Imperial Navy needed a new weapon that could change the course of the war. For this purpose, the effect of surprise and a powerful damaging force are needed. The Japanese designers were given the taskto create a submarine capable of transporting at least three aircraft unassembled. Also, the new watercraft must be equipped with artillery and torpedoes, stay under water for at least 90 days. All these requests were fulfilled in the I-400 submarine.

Japanese aircraft carriers of World War II

This submarine with a displacement of 6500 tons, a length of 122 meters and a width of 7 meters, was able to dive to a depth of 100 meters. In autonomous mode, the aircraft carrier could stay for 90 days. The ship was moving at a maximum speed of 18 knots. The crew consisted of 144 people. Armament is represented by one 140-mm artillery gun, 20 torpedoes and four 25-mm ZAU guns. The I-400 was equipped with a 34-meter hangar, the diameter of which was 4 m. The Aichi M6A Seiran was specially designed for the submarine.

With the help of one such aircraft, two 250-kilogram bombs or one weighing 800 kg could be transported. The main combat mission of this aircraft was to bombard military targets of strategic importance to the United States. The main targets were to be the Panama Canal and New York. The Japanese did all the emphasis on the effect of surprise. However, in 1945, the Japanese military command decided that it was not advisable to drop bombs and tanks with rats carrying deadly diseases from the air on American territories. It was decided on August 17 to attack US aircraft carriers that were near the Truk atolls. The upcoming operation had already received the name "Hikari", but it was no longer going to take place.destined. On August 15, Japan surrendered, and the crew of the giant I-400 was ordered to destroy their weapons and return home. The command of the submarines shot themselves, and the crew threw the aircraft group and all available torpedoes into the water. Three submarines were delivered to Pearl Harbor, where American scientists took care of them. The following year, scientists from the Soviet Union wished to do this. However, the Americans ignored the request, and Japanese aircraft carriers-submarines fired torpedoes and sank an island in Hawaii in the area.

Our days

Judging by the reviews, many are interested in how many aircraft carriers Japan has today? The fact is that in 2017 there were statements that next year the fleet of the Land of the Rising Sun would not use ships of this class. Nevertheless, already in December 2018, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of the country convened a meeting on defense issues, at which it was proposed to develop the production of aircraft carriers. Modern aircraft carriers of Japan are designed to protect the country from possible aggressive actions from China, because the interest of the enemy fleet and aviation in the Shinkaku Islands has recently increased.

Japanese aircraft carriers of World War II

There are two such ships in the Japanese Navy: Izumo and Kaga. Each new Japanese aircraft carrier will be used to carry US-made fifth-generation F-35B fighter bombers. New vessels with a displacement of 19.5 tons are quite large: their length is 248 m, width - 38 m. According to experts,Initially, the fighters were created by the Americans specifically for the formation of air groups, which would be equipped with LHA-6 landing craft. Since their dimensions (length 257 m, width 32 m) these ships practically do not differ from Japanese aircraft carriers, American aircraft are ideal for Itsumo and Kaga. These ships are equipped with two freight elevators with a carrying capacity of 37.5 tons. With their help, fighters will rise to the deck. It is noteworthy that the weight of a fully equipped F-35B does not exceed 22 tons. These aircraft will land on the deck using a vertical landing. In the same way they will take off. During the tests, it turned out that the launch of a fighter requires a run of only 150 m. Experts are convinced that more efficient use of such fighters will be possible after a slight modernization of the ships. Presumably, the Japanese will complete the facilities for maintenance equipment and warehouses for fuel and ammunition.

Japanese aircraft carriers during World War II

Because the F-35B does not use jet engines during landing and takeoff, but a turbofan, the deck will be strongly affected by the jet blast. For this reason, the designers will use a heat-resistant coating to strengthen the aircraft carrier.

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