This Christmas, Japan is preparing for some really serious shopping. On the shopping list are 28 F-35 Lightning II aircraft and 17 Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. Total defence spending in Japan is expected to rise to over 232 billion USD over the next five years.
The shopping follows recent rising tensions between Japan and China over several island in the East China Sea, although it has to be said an F-35 purchase was already on the cards as a replacement for ageing F-4EJ Phantoms. Japan is to be the second export customer for the V-22 Osprey, Israel being the first with six tilt rotors already ordered and expected for delivery in 2015.
In a National Security Draft, Tokyo states that ‘China’s stance toward other countries and military moves, coupled with a lack of transparency regarding its military and national security policies, represent a concern to Japan and the wider international community and require close watch’. The Japanese shopping list also provides for new navy and army assets.
© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest