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Japan plans to buy 50 military aircraft next year

Spending proposal covers 50 aircraft, including 10 F-2 fighters and launch orders for navy's US-2 and TH-X trainer

The Japanese government has outlined its plans for a fiscal year 2007 defence budget worth ¥4.8 trillion ($41 billion), including armed service requests to purchase 50 aircraft. The sum would cover the acquisition of 14 aircraft for the air force, 22 for the army and 14 for the navy, and double FY06 orders.

Seeking an acquisition budget worth ¥148.5 billion, the air force hopes to buy 10 Mitsubishi/Lockheed Martin F-2 fighters, one Raytheon Hawker U-125A search and rescue aircraft, two Mitsubishi/Sikorsky UH-60J utility helicopters and one Kawasaki/Boeing CH-47J Chinook transport helicopter.

The army has requested the purchase of 21 helicopters and one Fuji LR-2 liaison and reconnaissance aircraft for ¥41.2 billion. This is to include 16 Fuji/Bell UH-1J utility helicopters, two Kawasaki OH-1 scout helicopters, one Fuji/Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter, one UH-60JA and one CH-47JA.

Worth ¥126.5 billion, the air force's proposed increased order rate for the F-2 is expected to result in a cost saving of ¥13.6 billion, while the army's UH-1 deal would save ¥1.9 billion.

© Seiji Hirokawa

Tokyo intends to acquire an initial two US-2 amphibians to enter service from fiscal year 2012

A navy request for ¥60.4 billion includes planned launch orders for two Shinmaywa US-2 (formerly US-1A kai) amphibians and one TH-X training helicopter. To be acquired for ¥23 billion, the US-2s will be delivered from FY10. The navy has allocated ¥800 million to acquire its first of 15 TH-X trainers to replace its Kawasaki/Boeing OH-6D/DAs. The AgustaWestland A109E and Eurocopter EC135 are being considered for the requirement. The navy is also seeking five SH-60K patrol helicopters, four Fuji T-5 trainers and two Beech TC-90 trainers.