Jan 14, 2014
Japan Navy looks to deploy drones on destroyers
The Japan Navy also plans to conduct research on the equipment needed to conduct the drone operations.
The MSDF has no experience flying fixed-wing aircraft from destroyers because doing so might draw allegations that it is operating an offensive aircraft carrier, which is banned by the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9.
Depending on its research, Japan might someday build an aircraft carrier equipped with fighter jets.
With China increasing its presence in the East China Sea, the Self-Defense Forces are accelerating efforts to boost surveillance abilities.
Over the next five years, the MSDF is expected to buy up to 19 such aircraft, possibly the RQ-21 small tactical unmanned aircraft used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
In line with the constitutional constraints, the MSDF’s destroyers are not currently equipped with takeoff and landing equipment for aircraft. They can handle only helicopters and the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft.