Japan announced on November 20 that it would buy US made aircraft and vehicles including V-22 Osprey tiltrotors and RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drones and amphibious vehicles.
The purchase is a part of Tokyo’s evolving strategy in response to the increased Chinese military activity along the country’s south western sea border.
Japan Air Self Defense Force will get E-2D Advanced Hawkeye radar early warning planes in addition to the Global Hawks. The V-22s and a new fleet of AAV7 amphibious vehicles will belong to the Ground Self-Defense Force.
Japan chose Northrop Grumman’s E-2D over Boeing 737-based radar plane in the contest for its next airborne early warning and control platform.
Tokyo plans to have four E-2D by the end of the 2019 fiscal year. The first plane will enter service at Naha air base by 2017. Japan had shown interest in purchasing 17 Ospreys late last year and is likely to be based in Saga prefecture airport.
Japan also is buying long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, Global Hawk from Northrop Grumman.
Defense officials will request ¥100 billion ($847 million) from next year’s budget to purchase three Global Hawk aircraft by 2018. The aircraft should enter service the following year, Nikkei Shimbun news daily reported.
The ministry had set aside ¥200 million ($1.7 million) to research a possible acquisition of the Global Hawk last year.
The Ministry of Defense also has plans to buy 52 BAE Systems AAV7A1 amphibious vehicles over the coming two years.
The Ground Self-Defense Force has been conducting tests with a provisional fleet of AAV7s as part of Tokyo’s effort to establish a 2,000-strong Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.
The fleet will consist of four AAV7 infantry carriers purchased from US Marine Corps in 2013. It is not clear whether the planned acquisition of one command variant and recovery variant for tests have been received by the Ground Force.