Money is Expected to go Towards Patrol Aircraft and ShipsPRIME Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet has approved Japan’s largest ever defence budget of 4.98 trillion yen (US$42Bn; £28Bn). Ambitious procurement programmes to be funded by the budget increase will include 20 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to deal with the “changing situation” around Japan, as stated by new Defence Minister Gen Nakatani. The procurement plans also list: five tilt-rotor aircraft (which have both airplane and helicopter functionalities); six stealth fighters; 30 amphibious vehicles; and an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) platform; the latter can detect ships and other aircraft from a long distance.
The Defence Ministry announced in November 2014 it has selected the Bell Boeing MV-22 OSPREY tilt-rotor aircraft. According to the five-year midterm National Defence Programme Guidelines unveiled in July 2014, as many as 17 tilt-rotor aircraft will be procured by fiscal 2018.
By Stefan Nitschke