Japan to develop underwater drone to defend remote islands against Chinese

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An aerial photo of two Senkaku islands, Kitakojima, top, and Minamikojima.  COURTESY OF JAPAN DEFENSE MINISTRY
From Stripes.com
An aerial photo of two Senkaku islands, Kitakojima, top, and Minamikojima. COURTESY OF JAPAN DEFENSE MINISTRY

Japan to develop underwater drone to defend remote islands against Chinese

by: Matthew M. Burke and Aya Ichihashi | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: November 07, 2018

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japan plans to develop a large underwater drone to monitor its remote islands as Tokyo continues to build up assets set to guard against Chinese incursion.

The unmanned submersible will be unveiled in a Ministry of Defense’s policy document that lays out the island nation’s five-year plan from April 2019, Japan’s Kyodo News service reported Monday, citing a “government source.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet is slated to approve the policy in mid-December.

Officials have been mum on when the drone’s development will begin but an Iwakuni facility — where experiments to “detect sound waves” will take place in a large water tank — could be operational by fiscal year 2021, Kyodo reported. The submersible will be more than 32 feet long and “adaptable to various missions including surveillance.”

A Defense Ministry spokeswoman confirmed a funding request for research and development for the project in the fiscal year 2019 budget, which starts in April.

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