Japan has proposed making a 2.2% increase to its defence budget for fiscal year 2009, but its ¥4.8 trillion ($29.5 billion) allocation contains just ¥189.1 billion to procure, repair and upgrade aircraft: a fall of 1.2%. Tokyo's planned purchase of 24 new aircraft will also represent a decrease of two airframes against FY2008.

Details of the budget make particularly bad reading for Japan's air force, which will receive no new aircraft under the FY2009 budget. This is largely as a result of development problems with its Kawasaki Heavy Industries C-X transport, and the postponed launch of its F-X fighter contest.

Money will be provided to modernise 22 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries/Boeing F-15 fighters and 38 fire-control radars, to enable the Mitsubishi/Lockheed Martin F-2 fighter to carry weapons equipped with Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance kit and to upgrade the service's Northrop Grumman E-2C airborne early warning and control and Boeing 767 airborne warning and control system aircraft.



The navy will receive ¥44.3 billion to purchase five Mitsubishi/Sikorsky SH-60K patrol helicopters, five Fuji T-5 trainers, three TH-X training helicopters and one Shinmaywa US-2 search-and-rescue amphibian.

An allocation of ¥41 billion will enable the army to buy four Kawasaki/Boeing CH-47JA transports, three Kawasaki OH-1 scouts, two Mitsubishi/Sikorsky UH-60JA multirole helicopters and one new training helicopter. For the second year running, the service did not request additional AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, dealing a fresh blow to Fuji and Boeing.

The defence ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute is meanwhile also trying to advance its ATD-X stealth fighter programme.

Source: Flight International