JAPAN'S TECHNICAL Research and Development Institute (TRDI) has secured funding to begin development of a new medium-range surface-to-air-missile (SAM) and to upgrade the Shinmaywa US-1A amphibian.

Money for the two new projects is included in TRDI's recently approved '164.1 billion ($1.52 billion) budget for fiscal year 1996/7. The provision represents a 7% rise on 1995, but is '2.2 billion less than requested.

It includes '13.7 billion for Mitsubishi and Toshiba to begin full-scale development of a new low- and medium-level air-defence missile to replace its Raytheon Hawk. The new SAM is intended to have anti-cruise-missile capability.

The programme will take seven years to develop at a total projected cost of '128 billion. It will enter service in 2003 with the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force, and supplement the Air Self-Defence Force's Raytheon PAC 2 Patriot.

TRDI has set aside '2.8 billion to begin work on the US-1A upgrade, known as the US-1Kai. The '70 billion update will extend over eight years and include fitting new higher-performance Allison AE2100 engines, composite wing and tail, pressurised hull and fly-by-wire controls (Flight International, 9-15 August 1995.

Other major budget items include $2.9 billion to complete development of the Kawasaki OH-X scout helicopter and '9.2 billion for a high-performance airframe and engine test-centre at Chitose.

Source: Flight International