Japan’s $53B Budget to Cover F-35 Buy, Development of Hypersonic Weapons

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 12:10 PM, September 1, 2023
  • 862
Japan’s $53B Budget to Cover F-35 Buy, Development of Hypersonic Weapons
Japanese F-35 fighter @JASDF

The Japanese Defense Ministry has submitted a plea for a defense budget totaling $52.9 billion, with a clear emphasis on several key priorities, including naval vessels, F-35 fighter jets, the development of hypersonic weapons, and armored vehicles.

This budget proposal, submitted to the Finance Ministry on Thursday, pertains to the upcoming fiscal year, which commences on April 1, 2024.

Within this budget, the ministry has allocated $2.6 billion for the acquisition of two Aegis system-equipped vessels. Construction of the first ship is slated to commence in 2024, with plans for it to be commissioned in 2027. The second vessel is expected to join the maritime fleet the following year. These new vessels will measure 190 meters in length and have a displacement of 12,000 tons. They will be equipped with 128 vertical launching system cells for ballistic missile interceptors, as well as launchers for the indigenous Type 12 anti-ship and land-attack missiles.

Additionally, Japan intends to initiate the construction of a new class of frigates, based on the existing Mogami-class, starting in 2024. The budget request includes $1.2 billion for two of these vessels. The plan involves extending the ships' length from 133m to 142m, redesigning internal spaces, and outfitting them with Type 12 missiles, which will increase their displacement to 4,900 tons.

Japan is also seeking funding for ongoing research into the land-based, truck-launched Type 12 missile. The goal is to enhance its range, enabling it to strike targets up to 1,500km away. Moreover, efforts are underway to expand the missile's launch capabilities to include shipboard and aircraft-based variants.

The budget request encompasses $739.3 million for the acquisition of eight F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants and $862.3 million for seven F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing versions. Additionally, Japan plans to upgrade its air force's Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle Interceptors and F-2 fleets, earmarking $83 million to enable F-2s to launch Type 12 missiles that Japan is currently developing. These Japanese F-35s and F-15Js will be armed with Kongsberg's Joint Strike Missile and Lockheed Martin's AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.

In terms of land forces, Japan's defense ministry is seeking $561 million to acquire 24 wheeled infantry fighting vehicles, eight self-propelled mortars, 19 Type 16 maneuver combat vehicles, 10 Type 10 main battle tanks, and 16 155mm Type 19 wheeled self-propelled howitzers. Furthermore, Japan is planning to purchase 28 AMV wheeled armored personnel carriers from Finland's Patria for $215.4 million.

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