Japan's ruling party proposes defence strategy revisions

by Jon Grevatt

Current forecasts by Janes Defence Budgets show that if Japan continues to allocate about 1% of GDP to defence, the national defence expenditure will grow to USD56 billion by the end of this decade. The increase in 2021 is because of the allocation of supplementary expenditure in that year. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has proposed a major revision to the country's defence policies in response to its evolving security environment.

Under the plan – submitted to Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on 27 April – the country's defence budget would increase to 2% of GDP and the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) would develop ‘counter-strike capability' to disable enemy missiles and command-and-control (C2) systems.

The plan has been devised as the basis for the government's scheduled update to its National Security Strategy (NSS) by the end of this year.

This update – the first since the NSS was introduced in 2013 – will also prompt revisions of linked policies, the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP), both of which were last updated in December 2018.

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Ukraine conflict: Czech Republic donates attack helicopters to Kyiv

by Gareth Jennings

The Czech Republic has a number of Mi-24/35 attack helicopters that it has now donated to Ukraine. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The Czech Republic has donated attack helicopters to Ukraine, the US government disclosed on 23 May.

In wider comments on international aid to Kyiv, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said that Prague had made a donation of attack helicopters as part of a larger military package.

“I'd also like to thank the Czech Republic for its substantial support, including a recent donation of attack helicopters, tanks, and rocket systems,” he said.

Austin did not disclose the attack helicopter type donated by the Czechs, but the only types that fit the bill are the Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind' that the NATO country has operated since its Warsaw Pact days, and the derived Mi-35 ‘Hind-E' it received in 2005.

As noted by Janes World Air Forces , the Czech Air Force (CzAF) component of the Army of the Czech Republic (Armáda Ceské Republiky: ACR) operates seven Mi-24V and 10 Mi-35 helicopters. The US statement did not say how many helicopters had been donated.

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BAE Systems showcases unmanned vehicle built on M113 chassis at EDGE22

by Alexander Stronell

BAE Robotic Technology Demonstrator at EDGE22. (BAE Systems)

BAE Systems has exhibited a Robotic Technology Demonstrator (RTD) built on the lower hull of the M113 armoured fighting vehicle as part of its bid to develop a vehicle that meets US Army requirements for the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium (RCV-M).

The vehicle was demonstrated on 19 May at the Experimental Demonstration Gateway Exercise 2022 (EDGE22), an exercise held in preparation for Project Convergence 2022, the US Army's yearly warfighting and integration experiment.

BAE Systems first exhibited its RTD in 2019, but it has since undergone a number of significant changes in design. Janes understands this specific configuration displayed at EDGE22 has been in development since 2021. The vehicle was exhibited with a Fletcher 70 mm rocket launcher mounted and composite rubber tracks (CRT).

Explaining the rationale for the use of the M113 as a base vehicle, Helen Park, Future Tech Works director at BAE Systems, told Janes

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UK MoD opens Defence BattleLab in Dorset

by Olivia Savage

UK MoD Defence BattleLab opens at Dorset Innovation Park. (Janes)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has officially opened the Defence BattleLab, based in Dorset Innovation Park, which is designed to foster innovation between the UK armed forces, industry, and academia in a collaborative space.

UK Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin informed Janes that the lab has 100 rentable desks, conference rooms, an engineering workshop, and three 5G network testbeds that will enable secure testing in a closed network.

Quin said that the military end-users would also have a base there, helping to drive innovation and enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to put their inspiration into production at pace.

Lieutenant General Sir Christopher Linley Tickell, deputy chief of the General Staff, told Janes that the centre would focus on areas pertaining to human machine teaming, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, electrification, Global Positioning System (GPS), and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT). He added that the MoD is open to working on any type of technology.

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Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has proposed a major revision to the country's defence...

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