Japan Defense Ministry to Boost Air Surveillance Capacity
Tokyo, Sept. 18 (Jiji Press)--The Defense Ministry has decided to upgrade the Air Self-Defense Force's Airborne Warning and Control Group to enhance its surveillance activities in the airspace surrounding Japan.
The ministry included expenses for the organizational change in its budget request for fiscal 2019, officials have said. The move is aimed at strengthening surveillance for possible airspace violation as Chinese fighter jets and bombers have repeatedly flown over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan.
The ASDF unit has Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS, aircraft at the Hamamatsu air base in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, that are capable of detecting aircraft flying in the ground radar's blind spots beyond the horizon and at low altitudes.
Also included in the unit's fleet are E-2C early warning aircraft, deployed at the Misawa base in the northern prefecture of Aomori and the Naha base in the southern prefecture of Okinawa.
The ministry will upgrade the ASDF unit to an airborne warning and control wing in order to enhance its information gathering and analysis capabilities, because its operations to deal with Chinese aircraft have increased and its size expanded.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]