THE Boeing Co delivered the first KC-46A aircraft to Japan, as announced yesterday by the American company. This is the first delivery of an aerial refueling aircraft of the same type, made to a Boeing customer outside the US as well as escalating tensions with China push Japan to increase its defense spending.
The Japan Air Force (JASDF) received the aircraft under a contract signed in 2017.
Boeing, for its part, described the delivery of the KC-46A as “a significant development” for US-Japan cooperation in the India-Pacific region.
Both the U.S. Air Force and JASDF initially ordered a KC-46A aircraft, but have since made use of the options available to three more aircraft.
For its part, Boeing promotes the KC-46A as the most modern air refueling aircraft it has and which is equipped with modern sensors, having the ability to carry cargo and passengers, while refueling other aircraft.
Yesterday’s delivery of the aircraft took place, as reported by the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, in a period of tension for Japan as it tries to deal with China’s escalating aggression in Asia.
Japan’s ruling party has denied the allegations, retaining a majority in yesterday’s parliamentary elections, and has promised to double defense spending as public opinion becomes increasingly concerned about China.
Japan’s defense strategy focuses on defending the region along the edge of the South China Sea, where it is embroiled in a dispute with the Chinese government over a group of uninhabited islands.
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