Govt to Procure Drones for 1st Time

The government plans to procure three unmanned surveillance drones for the first time for the Air Self-Defense Force amid growing airspace tensions after China’s claim of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea, officials said.

The plan was included in a medium-term defense buildup program over the five years from fiscal 2014, officials said Friday. The government plans to adopt the program at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry is considering procuring three U.S.-made Global Hawk drones, the officials said.

It is also looking at the introduction of three new aerial refueling planes in a bid to expand the range of scrambled fighter jets.
Furthermore, the ministry plans to introduce three small high-speed destroyers for the Maritime Self-Defense Force to prepare for activities in shallow seas around remote islands.

To be better prepared for North Korea’s ballistic missile launches, the ministry will build two new Aegis destroyers, equipped with missile defense systems, and five new submarines.

Also under the midterm plan, the Ground Self-Defense Force will newly deploy 99 combat vehicles with high maneuverability and 52 amphibious vehicles to prepare for missions to recapture remote islands occupied by enemies.

It will introduce 17 tilt-rotor transport aircraft, likely to be the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey.

The government plans to allocate ¥24.67 trillion for the medium-term defense program. [via]

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