An Indian Navy plan to purchase the Japanese ShinMaywa US2i amphibious aircraft may not happen during the proposed visit of Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Japan in two weeks’ time.
"No decision has been taken by the Government for the procurement of US 2i amphibian aircraft from Japan," Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the lower house of the Indian parliament yesterday.
The US 2i was developed by ShinMaywa Industries and has a range of 4,700 km and can land in seas with waves of up to three metres. The Indian Navy had tendered over 4 years ago for the need for such a plane.
The US2i purchase plan had come up for discussion during the last meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by the Defence Minister in February but a decision was deferred as the government is believed to be not convinced for the need for such an aircraft. "Further discussions are needed in the US-2i project”, a media report had quoted an unnamed MoD source after the DAC meeting.
The ShinMaywa US21 purchase is expected to be the major takeaway during Defence Minister Parrikar’s maiden visit to Japan. However, the delay in announcing the purchase puts a big question mark on whether the government is interested in this $1.3 billion plan to purchase 12 aircraft.