According to the Japan Times, the country's Ministry of Defense (MOD) is set to make preparations for deploying the small attack drones made in the U.S. and other countries. Trials for the plan will commence in 2023, with a complete rollout of "several hundred attack drones" set from 2025 at the earliest.
The MOD said the attack drones, which would be used for "suicide" attacks, are expected to enhance the deterrent power of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). To this end, the ministry has requested for funds for attack drone deployment. The Times added that the MOD aims to include the active deployment of drones for various purposes in the country's three key national security documents, which are due for updating in late 2022. (Related: Japan building world's largest drone army after removing 'peace' provision from Constitution.)
Russia Today (RT) reported that Tokyo's move to deploy kamikaze drones is purportedly aimed at China, citing how Beijing has already "developed and put into practical use attack drones and others, while expanding its activities around Japan’s southwestern islands." The two nations and Taiwan are fighting for the control of the Pinnacle Islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.
The Japanese military is no stranger to kamikaze tactics. The Imperial Japanese Armed Forces – the JSDF's predecessor – utilized this strategy during World War II by ramming airplanes directly into their targets, killing both the pilot and the enemy in the process.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, such aircraft were "ordinary fighters or light bombers, usually loaded with bombs and extra gasoline tanks" for more damage. "Kamikaze attacks sank 34 ships and damaged hundreds of others during the war," it added.
According to RT, the Japanese military initially wanted to deploy a limited number of unspecified types of drones until the country's defense industry comes up with a viable domestic solution. The Jiji Press news agency subsequently reported that the JSDF hopes to deploy these drones in defense of Japan's remote regions, including the Ryukyu Islands. Okinawa and Senkaku are part of the island chain.
The MOD began its research on kamikaze drones by borrowing drones made in the U.S. and Israel. This was bankrolled by a ¥30 million ($201,150) budget from the Japanese government's fiscal budget for 2022.
In late August 2022, the MOD asked Tokyo to approve a record ¥5.59 trillion ($37.48 billion) budget for the next fiscal year. It cited threats from North Korea and China, adding that the latter "continues to threaten to use force to unilaterally change the status quo and is deepening its alliance with Russia."
The ministry argued that the increased budget would be directed toward the mass production of ground-launched cruise missile. It would also be directed to research on improving the range of Japan's Type 12 missile, alongside the development of a hypersonic projectile. While defense ministry officials did not offer any planned specifications for the new weapon, they noted that it would likely be able to reach mainland China if launched from Okinawa Islands.
Kamikaze drones have also seen widespread use in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
The U.S. has provided Ukraine with hundreds of Switchblade tactical kamikaze drones and the Phoenix Ghost drone, which is reportedly custom-developed to specifications provided by Kyiv on short notice. Moscow has also made use of kamikaze drones, with Russian forces utilizing these in a massive strike on key infrastructures.
WeaponsTechnology.news has more stories about the use of drones in warfare.
Watch this video about a new kamikaze drone deployed by the Palestinian Al-Qassam Brigades against Israel.
This video is from TheBubbaNews channel on Brighteon.com.