Japan is joining the international race to add artificial intelligence, robotics and drones to its defense capabilities, driven by a need to deploy its forces more effectively as population decline thins their ranks.
The coming years will see Japan acquire or develop a number of unmanned vehicles for surveillance, government plans show.
The blueprint includes three maritime surveillance drones in the procurement program for fiscal years 2019 to 2023, and an eventual 20 of the ship-transportable aerial vehicles. The process of selecting a drone will begin in fiscal 2019.
In fiscal 2021, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force will deploy the U.S.-made Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, creating a special unit to handle the drone, which can stay airborne for long periods.
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