Singapore AirshowJapan’s currency devaluation has added an extra layer of complexity to its planned defense budget over the coming years. Some fear that this may lead to reduced acquisition budgets and the cancellation or postponement of defense acquisition programs. However, major ongoing procurement programmes in Japan, including the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), the F-35A/B, Mogami-class frigates, C-2 and V-22 Osprey transport aircraft, and P-1 maritime patrol, are unlikely to be affected by any potential sequestration, says GlobalData, a leading data analytics company.

According to the GlobalData Fleet Size dashboard, Japan’s military fixed-wing aircraft fleet, consisting of F-15J/DJ, C-1, C-130H, and E-2C, has already surpassed thirty years in service. The need to modernise and replace these aging assets is becoming increasingly urgent because of China’s growing dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, extended use of these older aircraft will also result in increased maintenance costs for the Japanese military.

Harpreet Sidhu, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “To address this challenge, Japan is likely to continue to invest in its ongoing F-35A/B programmes and ensure a steady supply of advanced fighter jets to replace the older aircraft. However, defense budget sequestrations may lead to a delay in the deployment of the sixth-generation aircraft by a few years, which was originally planned for 2032.”

Although Japan’s currency devaluation may present difficulties in the near term, it is crucial for Japan to uphold a relevant defense posture in the volatile Indo-Pacific region. Japan is also fully committed to maintaining regional stability along with its long-standing partner, the US, to counter potential threats from China.

Sidhu concludes: “Therefore, barring a few aspirational programmes like the sixth-generation aircraft, Japan is unlikely to cull critical procurements of defense assets.”

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