2014年08月30日

Japanese MoD requests largest ever budget

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Japanese MoD requests largest ever budget

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo and James Hardy, London - IHS Jane's Defence Industry

28 August 2014

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 29 August asked for JPY5.05 trillion (USD48.6 billion) for fiscal year 2015, its largest ever budget request.

The request is up 3.5% from the current fiscal year budget and is the third consecutive rise under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has adopted a tougher stance against China since returning to power in December 2012.

The budget request, which will be sent to the finance ministry to consider before a decision later this year, includes funding for new capabilities such as tiltrotor aircraft, high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, and new early-warning aircraft.

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posted by Kosuke at 02:29| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly

2014年08月13日

Japanese MoD denies reports of 2015 first flight for ATD-X prototype

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Japanese MoD denies reports of 2015 first flight for ATD-X prototype

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

12 August 2014


The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD)'s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have both dismissed news reports that the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X) fighter prototype will make its maiden flight in January 2015.

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported on 12 August that MHI had decided to conduct the first flight of the ATD-X, a prototype for a future fighter to replace the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Mitsubishi F-2, in January. The newspaper did not disclose its source.

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The newspaper also said the MoD would make a final decision on whether to proceed with production by fiscal year 2018 after assessing the aircraft's capabilities and cost. It said MHI would deliver the prototype to the MoD by the end of March 2015.

Similarly, Jiji Press on 12 August reported MHI plans to conduct the test flight of the aircraft as early as January, citing a government-related official as its news source.

However, a TRDI spokesman denied both reports to IHS Jane's , saying: "We have not firmed up when the first test flight of the ATD-X will be conducted."

An MHI spokesman: "We didn't announce that. We will decide when to conduct the first flight in consultation with the MoD."

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In April Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera reaffirmed the MoD's plan for a first flight for the ATD-X this year, adding in the Diet that the ministry would decide by FY18 whether to build a future stealth fighter domestically or via international joint development, based on parameters such as technological achievements and cost effectiveness.

The ATD-X, also known as 'Shinshin' meaning 'Spirit of the heart', is being built by MHI's plant at Komaki Minami in Nagoya. It has been designed to be a stealthy air-superiority fighter with enhanced manoeuvrability. The MoD will use it to research advanced technologies and system integration, after which it plans to produce a 'sixth-generation' fighter encompassing i3 (informed, intelligent and instantaneous) concepts and counter-stealth capabilities.

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Meanwhile, the TRDI on 12 August released four photographs of the ATD-X taken on 8 May. In the images, some parts of the landing gear and exhaust slots have been blurred.

Related articles:
•Japan's indigenous stealth jet prototype 'to fly this year'
•Japanese MoD requests USD55 million for first flight of ATD-X prototype

(377 words)
posted by Kosuke at 17:09| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly

2014年08月05日

Japanese White Paper accuses China of taking 'high-handed actions'

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Japanese White Paper accuses China of taking 'high-handed actions'

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

04 August 2014

Japan's 2014 defence White Paper has accused China of taking "high-handed actions" over maritime rights and interests in the waters off East Asia.

"The security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, being compassed by various challenges and destabilising factors, which are becoming more tangible and acute," stated the annual White Paper, which was published by the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 5 August.

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On Beijing it noted: "China has adopted high-handed actions with regard to issues of conflicts of interest in the maritime domain, as exemplified by its attempts to change the status quo by coercion."

The paper said that those actions are "based on China's own assertion, which is incompatible with the existing international law and order", and "include dangerous acts that could cause unintended consequences and raise concerns over China's future direction" and which "raise security concerns for the regional and international community".

The White Paper for the first time mentioned China's intensifying flight activities along Japan's airspace boundaries, stating: "Japan is deeply concerned about the establishment of 'the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ)' and noting that the flights "are profoundly dangerous acts that unilaterally change the status quo, escalate the situation, and may cause unintended consequences in the East China Sea". Beijing declared its ADIZ in November 2013, bringing about protests by Japan and the United States.

The White Paper also pointed out that provocative actions by North Korea are "a serious destabilising factor to the security not only of Japan but of the entire region and the international community". It for the first time mentioned the KN-08 mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), showcased by North Korea at major military parades in Pyongyang in April 2012 and July 2013, as well as 'Scud-ER' (extended range) missiles with a range of 800-1,000 km.

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"Should North Korea have a false sense of confidence and recognition regarding its deterrence, this could lead to increases in and the escalation of military provocations by North Korea in the region and could create situations that are deeply worrying also for Japan," it stated.

As for Moscow, the White Paper noted that "Russia's changing of the status quo by coercive measures such as the annexation of Crimea into Russia is a global issue that also impacts Asia and elsewhere".

In addition to outlining perceived threats to Japanese interests, the paper also underscored various new security developments under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: the establishment of a National Security Council that is "the control tower" of the nation's security and defence; the first National Security Strategy (NSS) and the National Defense Programme Guidelines (NDPG) that introduced the concept of "a Dynamic Joint Defense Force"; a new concept emphasising the Japan Self-Defense Forces' joint operations and interoperability capability at sea, in the air and on land; the abolition of the nation's decades-old ban on weapons exports; and the reinterpretation of the constitution to allow the exercising of a right to collective self-defence.

COMMENT
The White Paper is a useful tool for analysts seeking to understand Japanese defence thinking and, along with the MoD's budget request (published every year around late August or early September), sets out Tokyo's priorities and concerns.

Defence officials briefing on the White Paper pointed out that the Chinese national defence budget, in terms of its nominal size, has grown about 40-fold over the past 26 years and almost quadrupled in size over the past 10 years. To cope with this rising power, they emphasised that Japan has also strengthened its defence capabilities, noting that Tokyo's defence expenditures have climbed for the second consecutive year under the Abe administration.

However, with government debt already at more than 230% of GDP, there is a limit to how much fiscal stimulus can be applied to the national defence budget.
posted by Kosuke at 22:13| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly