F-35B landing and takeoff tests held on MSDF ship

Japan's Defense Ministry says it has conducted landing and takeoff tests of state-of-the-art stealth fighter jets on a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel.

The ministry said on Tuesday that two F-35B fighter jets from US Air Station Iwakuni in western Japan took part in the tests on the destroyer Izumo in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

Izumo, designed as a helicopter carrier, is undergoing modifications including its flight deck so that F-35B fighter jets could take off and land. The tests were held as part of the modification process.

The MSDF released video images showing the jets landing vertically and taking off from the 250-meter long flight deck.

It was the first time that fighter planes landed on and took off from an MSDF vessel.

The Japanese government says F-35B units will not be deployed full time on Izumo, so it will not be considered an attack aircraft carrier, which would be banned by Japan's constitution.

MSDF Chief of Staff Yamamura Hiroshi said in a news conference that the modifications will improve the operational flexibility of fighter jets. He said he considers the Izumo a multipurpose destroyer, and that it will be used for the country's defense.

The MSDF plans a similar modification for Izumo's sister destroyer, Kaga.