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31 Aug 17. Japan seeks funds to boost missile ranges days after North Korea threat. Japan’s defence ministry on Thursday sought $160m in a record budget request to develop swift, longer-range missiles to extend its military punch in East Asia, countering growing Chinese strength and an increasing North Korean threat.
If approved, the proposal for a rise of 2.5 percent in defence spending to 5.26trn yen (37.26bn pounds) for the year starting April 1 would be the sixth straight annual increase as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bolsters the military.
The funds will pay for ballistic missile defence upgrades, six F-35 stealth fighters, four V-22 Osprey tilt rotor troop carriers, besides orders for new naval vessels, including a submarine and two compact warships.
Around $90m of the requested missile development funds of $160m will go on studying hypersonic missiles to quickly penetrate enemy defences.
The rest will pay for research on extending missile range, technology that could potentially be used to help develop strike weapons.
South Korea’s air force conducted an exercise with two U.S. nuclear-capable bombers above the Korean peninsula on Thursday, two days after a North Korean missile fired over Japan sharply raised tension.
“The research and development is for island defence,” a Ministry of Defence official told a briefing, referring to the southwestern Okinawa island chain skirting the East China Sea, where Japan is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China.
The funding for missile development, though relatively small, could nonetheless spark controversy, since Japan’s war-renouncing constitution imposes restrictions on strike weapons for the military. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Japan had consistently hyped the so-called “China threat” to increase its defence spending, and urged it to learn the lessons of history and pay heed to its neighbours’ security concerns.
“Regardless of what its reasons are, Japan’s defence spending is increasing every year and has reached a new historical high. We express concern about this,” Hua told a regular press briefing.
Some lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) argue that Japan needs weapons able to strike North Korean missile sites, so as to deter attacks by Pyongyang.
The longest range missiles in Japan’s arsenal, which includes anti-aircraft and anti-ship munitions, have ranges of less than 300 kilometres.
A group of LDP lawmakers that recommended Japan acquire strike weapons was led by Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera before he took up his post in August. (Source: Reuters)
31 Aug 17. Arnold Defense introduces FLETCHER, a land vehicle mounted Laser Guided 2.75-inch Rocket Launcher concept at the 2017 DSEi Exhibition. Arnold Defense, a US St Louis based international manufacturer and supplier of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, is unveiling a concept named the “FLETCHER” 2.75-inch/70mm Weapon System. FLETCHER can be mounted on land-based military vehicles as well as, potentially, marine and littoral platforms. The debut of the FLETCHER concept coincides with the DSEi Exhibition taking place in London, 12—15 September 2017.
The FLETCHER concept is supported by a team of global defense industry companies working together under Arnold’s leadership to combine their complimentary expertise. The full team composition has yet to be announced however, at this stage, Arnold are able to confirm the involvement of Military Systems Group, Nammo and Supacat. Working together, the team is able to provide a full-system approach to FLETCHER ranging from design and integration through testing, validation and manufacture into ammunition and through-life support.
Traditionally, 2.75-inch rocket systems have been used as an area suppression weapon, ordinarily deployed by aviation assets. The team h