The Japanese government plans to obtain two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to replace a pair of 747-400s used for the VIP transport mission.
The planned acquisition was confirmed by All Nippon Airways (ANA), which the Japanese defence ministry confirmed as the provider of heavy checks for the aircraft.
It is not clear whether Tokyo will order new-build aircraft from Boeing, or refit 777-300ERs now in commercial service.
The aircraft, to be operated by the Japan Air Self Defense Force, will replace a pair of 747-400s now used in the VIP mission. Media reports in Japan indicate that the 747s will be retired in fiscal year 2018, which ends on 31 March 2019.
The 747s are maintained by ANA rival Japan Airlines, which also put in a bid for the 777 maintenance contract.
Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows that the two 747s in Japanese government service were ordered in 1987 and delivered in 1991. They are powered by General Electric CF6 engines and have 141 seats.
ANA operates 19 GE90 powered 777-300ERs, with an additional nine examples on order.