Japan has announced that it plans to buy E-2D early warning and command and control aircraft and the Global Hawk for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions as part of an effort to build up the military in the contested Asia-Pacific region.
The country’s Defense Ministry also set in motion buys of V-22 Ospreys to meet its requirement for 17 tilt-rotor aircraft, a plan it outlined in November. The V-22s are built by a partnership of Boeing [BA] and Bell Helicopter, a division of Textron [TXT].
Northrop Grumman [NOC] is the manufacturer of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, the latest version of the aircraft being produced for the U.S. Navy and the Global Hawk, the high altitude unmanned air vehicle flown by the U.S. Air Force. Tokyo made those announcements as it signed off on a defense budget for fiscal 2015.
Japan selected the E-2D over Boeing’s offer of the Wedgetail early warning aircraft based on the 737 airframe and sold internationally. And the Global Hawks were chosen over General Atomics’ Guardian unmanned aircraft that is a variant of the MQ-9 Reaper.
Japan intends to buy one E-2D and reportedly three or four Global Hawks.
The U.S. Navy plans to buy 75 of the E-2Ds, which are manufactured in Saint Augustine, Fla.
The decision to buy the V-22s came despite concerns in previous years in Japan about the aircraft. Some Okinawa resident had protested the deployment by the U.S. Marines of V-22s and the Japanese government didn’t sign off on it until the Pentagon explained in August 2012 the causes behind a couple accidents, a deadly one in Morocco and another in Florida earlier that year.
The Marines began basing V-22s at Marine Corps Base Futenma, which lies in a densely populated area of Okinawa, shortly after getting Tokyo’s nod.