The Japanese government plans to introduce loitering kamikaze drones for island defense on a trial basis next year, Yomiuri Shimbun revealed, citing sources.
The ministry of defense has introduced the deployment of attack drones in its 2023 budget request, according to the outlet.
The quantity and cost are to be finalized by the end of this year.
Japan currently doesn’t possess any combat drones. It has deployed US-made reconnaissance drones such as the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk and Boeing Insitu ScanEagle.
Kamikaze Drones for Island Protection
According to the outlet, the plan is to deploy hundreds of domestic and foreign-made drones mainly in the Nansei Islands stretching southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces would assess the drones before their large-scale deployment.
The drones under consideration include the Israeli Harop and the US-made Switchblade. The aircraft will be intended to crash into invading vessels and troops landing on the islands along with warning and garrison protection.
The Turkish combat drone Bayraktar TB2 could also be considered, the outlet added.
Shift in Policy
According to the outlet, Tokyo has taken tentative steps to introduce attack drones into the military since 2015. It added that drone employment by Ukrainian forces in their war against Russia convinced policymakers to hasten introduction.
The ministry also seeks research funding for counter-drone systems based on high-powered lasers and microwaves in the budget request, according to The Asahi Shimbun.