The Indian Navy will acquire 12 US-2i (Utility Seaplane Mark 2) amphibious aircraft from the Japanese firm ShinMaywa Industries under $1.65 billion agreement.
The supply of amphibious search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft is result of the agreement signed - related to the ‘transfer of defence equipment and technology co-operation’, during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India on December 12, according to The Hindu.
The “agreement provides a framework to enhance defence and security co-operation by making available to each other, defence equipment and technology necessary to implement joint research, development and production,” report points out.
The US-2i version has the basic capability same as the US-2 – the first Japanese aircraft offered to India. However, few equipment changes have been made to cater to the Indian Navy’s role requirement, according to the RFI (request for information).
Another agreement was signed concerning security measures for the protection of classified military information, between Indian signatory G Mohan Kumar, Defence Secretary, and Hiramatsu.
The two countries had earlier expressed their intention to explore potential future projects on defence equipment and technology cooperation such as US-2 amphibious aircraft. ShinMaywa Industries, the manufacturer of the US-2 amphibious aircraft, has already initiated discussions with several Indian companies - Mahindra Defence, Hindustan Aeronautics, Tata Aerospace, L&T and Pipavav Defence naming a few, to reportedly assemble the aircraft in India.
According the report, two US-2i would be imported first, off-the-shelf, while the other 10 would be manufactured in India, under technology transfer arrangements by ShinMaywa Industries with an Indian partner.