So, it’s taken a while but I’ve finally finished the next batch of ships for this AU.
Firstly, a fairly familiar design to start off with - the CSGN. This is a derivative of the 1976 design, and most of the changes were in updating the drawing to modern SB standards. Not too much more to say here, really, we’ve all seen CSGN before.
Next, something those of you who participated in the recent ASW flagship drawing challenge might be familiar with, the JMSDF aircraft carrier Yonaga
The story behind this is quite interesting; I was originally inspired by a surprisingly good KC fanfic called Eternity
by Sheo Darren
, though in my quest to make her history as plausible as possible most of the links to that IP have been dropped. Basically, at some point in the 50s the JMSDF decided to buy an aircraft carrier, and some politicians in the US who were upset at the decision to scrap Enterprise
CV-6 managed to convince them to buy and refit her instead of an Essex or Midway. She started out fitted for an anti-surface role and served for around 35 years, gradually being refitted every now and then until Japan finally started building more carriers, at which point she got redesignated as an ASW flagship and given a bunch of helicopters to shepherd around.
As part of her initial refit before being sent to Japan she was given a hurricane bow and enclosed stern, a completely new flight deck and island, and large anti-torpedo bulges to help support all the added topweight. This did reduce her speed quite drastically though (I'm not sure quite how much, but probably to somewhere between 23-27 knots I'm guessing given the size of the bulges). As part of her later refits, Seasparrow and Phalanx point-defense systems were added, as well as better radar and electronic systems, though her SPS-43 was retained due to its exceptionally long range.
I have no idea if the 1950s-era JMSDF would use those sorts of deck markings or more American-style ones, but I went with the rule of cool and gave her proper red-and-white stripes. Her new name, Yonaga
, is Japanese for Long Night and is in reference to the darkness that descended over their nation during WWII. Japanese carriers use symbols called Katakana to distinguish them from the air, with each carrier having the symbol that represents the sound of the first part of their name. So for example Kaga
had カ, which is pronounced "ka". The Katakana for "yo" is ヨ, which happens to look like an inverted E, which is very fitting in my opinion. In addition, if one counts all of the aircraft carriers built or ordered for construction by the Japanese Navy (but not the Army, which also had its own carriers), then Yonaga
would be the 44th. This is also fitting, as the Japanese symbol for 4 is the same as their symbol for death, and of course, Enterprise
is known for sinking a great many ships, including three aircraft carriers on the exact same day.
And finally, we have Yonaga’s
replacement. In the late 60s and early 70s is was rapidly becoming apparent that the aging Yorktown-class couldn’t continue to be effective in an anti-ship role for very long, and preparations began to transfer her from the carrier strike force to the ocean escort force, however this resulted in a problem: Japan would be left without any fixed-wing air cover for their strike groups, something that left them vulnerable, and also without any sort of real strike capability as up to that point Yonaga had constituted pretty much the entirety of their anti-ship capability. For some time the JMSDF had been trying to obtain new aircraft carriers, however this was considered politically unacceptable and they were constantly denied.
As a result they had instead started investigating the idea of using large guided missile cruisers for the role, but the sudden transfer of Yonaga
away from the strike forces meant that their hypothetical cruisers would be left without any sort of fixed-wing air cover when operating far from Japan’s shores. A solution, however, quickly presented itself: the United States was working on designing a series of new nuclear-powered strike cruisers, and one of the plans on the drawing board was for a so-called aircraft-carrying cruiser, a modification of the basic CSGN design that allowed it to have both over a hundred VLS cells and the capability to carry a dozen or so aircraft.
The JMSDF was instantly interested, and so in 1975 they signed a joint development contract with the US. The initial plan was for Japan to order 12 of the ships, named the Ise-class, to be placed in four groups of three. Unfortunately, the realities of the naval budget resulted in this being cut to 8, and then to 6, but at that point things had steadied out and their future seemed certain.
However, in 1977-78 the sudden rise of the Great Khanate resulted in a massive panic, as was to be expected from the appearance of a potentially unfriendly superpower almost right next to Japan, and the JMSDF’s long-denied requests for more aircraft carriers suddenly started being accepted. As a result, the last four Ise-class ships were canceled on the slipways, and their funds were diverted into the Kaiyō-class development project. In the end only the first two ships, Ise
CGN-96 and Kaga
CGN-97, were commissioned into the JMSDF.
That’s all I have for now. As always, any thoughts you have would be very much appreciated!
EDIT: I've updated the Ise-class design a bit to take into account the advice of the people below, she should be more realistic now.