India and Japan are in talks to finalize a $1.65 billion amphibious aircraft deal from ShinMaywa Industries.
The two governments have set up a joint working group that will meet in March to consider plans to either set up a plant in India to assemble it under licence by an Indian state manufacturer, to familiarize with the Japanese military technology, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was quoted as saying.
In an interview with Defenseworld.net at Aero India 2013, Director & CEO of ShinMaywa India, Sujeet Samaddar, said, “Unfortunately there in no competition, this technology is very advanced and is forward looking. The technology used on the aircraft can and will meet global competition. Offsets for us are an opportunity, not a burden.”
The sale would be the first of a finished product made by Japan's homegrown defence industry since rules were imposed restricting the export of weapons systems and other equipment, according to Nikkei business daily.
New Delhi will procure about 15 aircraft and will assemble 13 planes with a local partner after taking delivery of the first two.
For the moment, a stripped-down civilian version of the US-2i search and rescue plane is being offered to India, to get around Japan's self-imposed ban on arms exports. A friend or foe identification system will be removed from the aircraft, according to reports.
The Indian navy has also expressed interest in the patrol vessels and electronic warfare equipment.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the aircraft deal with India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a trip to New Delhi last weekend.
"Our Joint Working Group on US-2 amphibian aircraft has met to explore the modalities of cooperation on its use and co-production in India. More broadly, we are working towards increasing our cooperation in the area of advanced technologies," Singh was quoted as saying.
The aircraft is designed for air-sea rescue missions, is equipped with a glass cockpit with integrated instrument panel. A single LCD panel integrates the digitalised meters. The aircraft incorporates fly-by-wire flight control system. The computerised flight system improves the safety and controllability of the aircraft.
The US-2 aircraft can fly at a maximum altitude of over 6,000m. It has the cruising speed of 480km/h and maximum speed of 560km/h. The maximum range of the aircraft is over 4,500km. The maximum take-off weights of the aircraft on land and water are 47.7t and 43t respectively.