At the NAMEXPO-2013 here, Kanji Ishimaru, who heads ShinMaywa’s aircraft division, told ‘Express’ that they were awaiting the RFP (Request For Proposal) from the Indian Navy.
Ishimaru said they have been working out various options, including possible joint ventures, subcontracting and formulating consortium, to deal with the mandatory 30 per cent offset.
“Matters related to pricing, repair, maintenance and overhaul can be worked out only after the RFP is issued. Being an amphibious aircraft which can be used for search and rescue, disaster management and relief operations, the ShinMaywa US-2 will be a force multiplier for the Indian Navy,” he said. The aircraft, with its amphibious nature, can give access to isolated islands without a runway, pointed out Yasuo Kawanishi, general manager, business development, aircraft division, ShinMaywa.
Access to much further places than helicopters, high speed and ultra-low speed flight by the boundary layer control system are some key features. Realising its potential during his recent visit to Japan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made a decision along with his Japanese counterpart “on setting up a joint working group to explore modality for cooperation on the US-2 amphibian aircraft”.
It was in 2011 that the RFI (Request For Information) was sought, said Ishimaru. “There are a lot of things to be worked out. Once the RFP is issued, we will get only three months to sort out matters, including the final pricing, how many aircraft would be required and so on.
Currently, ShinMaywa delivers US-2 to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) at $100 million. However pricing for the Indian version could be finalised based on the final requirements only,” Ishimaru said.
Dealing with the 30 per cent mandatory offset would be another major issue to be worked out.
Though RFI has been issued for nine US-2 aircraft, the numbers would be finalised at the time of RFP only. Apart from the Indian Navy, the Air Force and Coast Guard have also expressed interest in US-2, he added.