Mitsubishi Electric Corp has won a Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract to develop technology to monitor Chinese and North Korean missiles via satellite by bidding just 22 yen (about 21 cents).
In contrast, the MoD set aside 88 million yen (about $848,320) for research and investigation into new technology to detect and monitor missiles with satellites in its budget for fiscal 2020.
A Defense Ministry official expressed their astonishment at the unprecedented low amount agreed on between the parties after the ministry put the research offer up for competitive bidding (that ended on Jan 14), Mainichi reported.
Mitsubishi Electric will develop tech to detect hypersonic military gliders, which can be maneuvered at high speed with irregular flight trajectories. The company has been entrusted with research regarding the implementation of "limb observation," a type of method that enables missiles to be detected by stationing numerous satellites at the same altitude to survey missiles horizontally.
The ministry has not disclosed the amount of research costs it had envisioned, but it is believed to top several million yen (tens of thousands of dollars) at a conservative estimate.
As the bidding price is less than 1/100,000th of the estimated research cost, the Defense Ministry has reportedly consulted with a lawyer to check if there are any problems with the contract, and has also confirmed with the electronics maker that they are capable of performing the research. No issues were found with either party.