News

Thin Pinstriped Line on Anglo-Japanese Defense Industry Cooperation

For a better analysis of what the recent news on the possibility of Japan and Britain developing defense industry ties, check out the following post by British blogger “Sir Humphrey”:
That said, it is important to be realistic about how much can really be achieved by the signing of this accord. This authors strictly personal view is that it is going to be unlikely to see Japan shifting allegiance to the Eurofighter, and ditching its F35 buy. Indeed, the likelihood of Japan purchasing Eurofighter was always slim, when one considers that the near entirety of the Japanese military is either sourced from US derived designs, or designed to operate with the US.

Even so, there is the possibility of lower level co-operation which could lead to mutual projects of interest, but again it is unlikely to see the Japanese buying into the T26 design. The Japanese have their own national ship design capabilities that they would wish to protect, and its unlikely that their government would willingly sacrifice this hard won capability in order to buy into the T26. What is more likely is the possibility of co-operation in either weapons or ancillary materials – for instance engines or propulsion systems.

Read more over at Thin Pinstriped Line

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UK and Japan to Discuss Defense Industry Cooperation

UK and Japan to Discuss Defense Industry Cooperation

British PM Cameron will discuss UK-Japan defense technology sharing with PM Noda in his upcoming visit to Japan, Mainichi reports

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MHI Delivers 13 Type-10 Tanks in FY2011

Japan's newest tank, the Type-10, flies past

Type-10 at the Fuji School Open Day last year

Friend of JSW, Susumu of Surveillance to Go Nowhere tipped us off to a small news release from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that they have completed the provision of 13 Type-10 tanks to the Ground Self-Defense Force in FY2011, the first year of a four-year contract to supply of these 58 state-of-the-art tanks. This is on schedule and is pretty much a non-event, except that they are at least getting these tanks through the door.

It is also worth bearing in mind the troubles faced by the first commissioned production-line Type-10 earlier this year – it is unclear just how many of these Type-10 have received their commissioning yet and whether they have faced any further setbacks like the ones reported in January. What is clear is that the replacement for the Type-74 tanks, which have recently seen renewed service in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi crisis, appears to be on track.

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Mainichi: Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

From Mainichi Daily News yesterday:

Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

[...] In a letter dated Feb. 13, the ministry expressed its concern to the Pentagon over a rise in the price tag of the F-35, which is being developed by an international consortium led by U.S. aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp., the sources said.

The ministry also requested a review of the procurement system under a foreign military sales arrangement that allows the United States to change prices at its discretion, the sources said.

[...]

The letter was sent by Hideshi Tokuchi, chief of the ministry’s bureau of finance and equipment, and addressed to Frank Kendall, acting under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Tokuchi said in the letter that the possibility of canceling the F-35 procurement in the event its price rises cannot be denied. If the price does go up and the matter is deliberated in parliament, it would “invite severe criticism” and “jeopardize” the F-35 procurement plan, he said. [...]

Read more at the Mainichi Daily News site

It will be a great shame if Japan cancels its orders of the F-35 due to a price range, not least because the ASDF could really do with being shot of the F-X program so that it can look ahead to the successor to the F-15Js which seem to be slowly deteriorating.

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SDF to Straits of Hormuz?

SDF to Straits of Hormuz?

The Japanese government is considering the possibility of an MSDF dispatch to the Straits of Hormuz, but it seems unlikely that they will agree to a deployment putting them up against Iran's navy.

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Update on GSDF’s First Mass-Produced Type-10

The Type-10 Tank during its induction ceremony

The Type-10 Tank during its induction ceremony (Source: Jiji)

Remember back in January when we showed you a video of the first mass production Type-10 tank being induced into the Fuji School of Armor? Well, Shukan Shincho reported in their February 2nd issue that the ceremony was actually hit by a stroke of bad luck: the tank was to be shown off in a demonstration, but on January 9th, the day before the initiation ceremony, a malfunction was discovered in the the protection circuit of the power system forcing the GSDF to cancel the demonstration. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the manufacturer, stated that they were unable to comment on the issue, but the GSDF Public Affairs Office announced that it was a program error, and that repair work was completed on January 22nd.

A bad start for all involved, and as the Shukan Shincho wrote: “You cannot be helped for feeling it’s had bad luck from the beginning.”

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Two Fuels Tanks Drop Off F-2 Fighter

ASDF F-2 Fighter with three fuel tanks - one mounted on each wing, and one attached to the fuselage

ASDF F-2 Fighter with three fuel tanks - one mounted on each wing, and one attached to the fuselage (Source: Mariana)

While accidents involving parts falling off the F-15 have proven quite common recently, it is the F-2 that is making headlines with this latest incident near Guam.

According to NHK, who have a video report accompanying their article, on Feb. 16th, while conducting joint training with US forces (presumably Exercise COPE NORTH) over the Pacific, two fuel tanks fell from an ASDF F-2 fighter. According to the ASDF, the tanks were both seen falling into the sea and there are no reports of any damage as a result of the accident.

The tanks are 6 meters long with a diameter of 80 cm and a weight of 170 kg a piece when empty.

The ASDF is currently investigating the incident and searching for the tanks, so if you spot two floating torpedo-shaped objects in the Pacific near Guam this week, be sure to contact someone at Andersen Air Force Base where the ASDF are housed during COPE NORTH.

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Shintaro Ishihara on Constitutional Reform

Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo

Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo (Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Govt.)

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s political views regarding SDF and military force are well-known, but he added a few extra words this week.

At a regularly held press conference on Feb. 17, Ishihara was asked about his thoughts on the current state of the Self-Defense Forces. He replied, “It would be better for them to be a distinctly military force,” with constitutional reform being necessary to this end. He emphasized that, “It is strange to talk about the SDF, which gradually grew out of the National Police Reserves, operating abroad in the name of self-defense.”

On the recent Russian flights around Japan, he added, “If they enter our territorial waters, we should shoot them down.”

[via NicoNico News]

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News Flash: Tanaka Replaces Private Secretary, F15 Parts Lost 115 Times Since 2007, Shiga Requests SDF Snow Aid

There are a series of very important small pieces of news in the press today:

Defense Minister Tanaka Replaces Private Secretary

After several gaffes by the new defense minister, see Shisaku for an excellent list, Naoki Tanaka has replaced his private secretary and reinstated former Defense Minister Kitazawa’s secretary in hopes of releasing some of the incredible pressure he is under at the Diet.

An experienced defense policy professional, Manabu Mannami stepped down today after two years as private secretary, and Takahiro Yoshida returns to Ichigaya from the Ministry’s Defense Planning Bureau. Tanaka blames Mannami’s ineptitude for his poor Diet performance, and stated that he wanted to be prepared to deal with the current Budgetary Committee deliberations.  The Asahi states that officials at the ministry believe the change came at his wife’s requestMakiko Tanaka was Koizumi’s Foreign Minister and is a powerful Ozawa supporter.

 

F15 Parts Lost on 115 Occasions Since 2007

The Asahi reports that since 2007, there have been 115 incidents of parts falling from ASDF F15s mid-flight – of which only nine were reported to the local government, and only six were officially announced to the press. The ASDF says that small parts frequently drop off with little chance of damage, but local authorities complain that this information should be passed on regardless.

The study, made by the ASDF Staff Office, covers incidents spanning from April 2007 to December 2011. Most of the incidents involve bolts or screws dropping from the plane. By base, the figures are as follows:

  • Hyakuri (Ibaraki): 29 incidents
  • Nyutabara (Miyazaki): 22 incidents
  • Tsuiki (Fukuoka): 20 incidents
  • Komatsu (Ishikawa): 16 incidents
  • Chitose (Hokkaido): 14 incidents
  • Naha (Okinawa): 10 incidents
  • Gifu (Gifu): 2 incidents

 

SDF Deployed to Handle Shiga Snow

For the first time in 31 years, the SDF were requested to aid Shiga Prefecture with the record snowfall. The SDF were requested by Shiga and Kyoto Prefecutures following a record 87 centimeters of snow (as recorded in Maizuru, Kyoto). The snow has left 21 households and 56 people isolated in the town of Makino in Takashima, Shiga.

The SDF can be called into action by local authorities to deal with disaster situations, and they are frequently requested for help against heavy snow. For information on the involvement of the SDF in local snow operations, see my post from last year.

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Daily Yomiuri: Mitsubishi Electric hit with suspension for bill padding

The Defense Ministry and two other government entities have suspended Mitsubishi Electric Corp. as a designated contractor because the company has been found to have inflated invoices, the ministry has announced.

The ministry, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center made the announcements and suspended the company Friday for unspecified periods. The ministry added that Mitsubishi contacted it to admit the allegations the same day.

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Top Intelligence Post Vacant

Top Intelligence Post Vacant

Masaru Tsuji steps down as Deputy Director-General of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office with no-one stepping into replace him. What is going on with Japan's central intelligence body?

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Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Start your week with JSW's Monday Morning Reading, with some of the more in-depth articles we came across to keep you going throughout your working week.

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