Japan upgrading air forces in response to regional threats

Feb. 13, 2014 at 2:20 AM
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SINGAPORE, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Japan, concerned about rising regional tensions, will spend more on defense, government officials said.

Japanese officials are attending the Singapore Ari Show 2014 to view the latest equipment available.

The upgrades will allow the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to boost its air and maritime forces.

Besides upgrading its current air arm of U.S.-built F-2 and F-15 fighters JASDF will purchase 28 U.S.-built Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft, 17 Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and three Northrop Grumman Global Hawk UAVs by 2019, the Aviation International News reported Wednesday.

Tokyo is concerned not only about North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, but rising tensions over its Senkaku island archipelago, whose ownership is disputed by China.

Japan's National Security Strategy published in December, reorients JASDF to create an amphibious brigade, which promotes plans to buy the tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft.

Additionally, JASDF intends to spend $950 million upgrade to its fleet of four Boeing E-767 AWACs aircraft by improving their mission computers, electronic support measures, identify-friend-or-foe and cryptographic equipment.

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