Japan Building Huge Drone FleetSubmitted by Allegory on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 18:52
DEFENSE ONE: For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.
The country has positioned itself as one of the unlikely players in the escalating global race for military drones, a move that’s controversial both at home and abroad. A veteran Japanese politician even warned that the country’s re-armament looked like “a kind of pre-war revival.” The United States has aided Tokyo in its efforts to re-arm, deploying two unarmed Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones in May to a base in Northern Japan, which infuriated both China and North Korea.
Japan is now in a position it hasn’t been in for nearly 70 years, when it gave up its right to engage in conflict outside its borders. The country is engaged in a bitter dispute with China over a set of islands that sit on resource-rich sea beds that each claims as its sovereign territory.
Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and the implications for both global peace and commerce could be widespread.
Japan is not so quietly building a huge drone fleet
The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency.