Japan is ready to be flexible with the cost of ShinMaywa Industries' US-2i amphibious search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft in order to push through a deal to export the platform to India. Talks between the governments of Japan and India about the sale of the aircraft have been continuing for several years, with the requirement centred on a programme to supply the Indian Navy (IN) with 12 US-2i aircraft.
The deal is reportedly worth about USD1.6 billion. A spokesperson from Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) told IHS Jane's in late September that it would look to respond "flexibly" to India's requirement in a bid to accelerate the sale. This flexibility is understood to apply to not only the cost of the aircraft but also the programme to involve Indian industry in the aircraft's production. The spokesperson also indicated, however, that the potential programme had stalled until Japan receives greater clarity from New Delhi about the finer details of India's US-2i procurement policy.
The IN had previously indicated that it wanted to import two US-2is from ShinMaywa, with the remaining 10 aircraft licence built in India, although the MoD did not confirm this. The MoD spokesperson said, "On the US-2 Japan and India have agreed to accelerate consideration between both defence authorities.
"[But] in order to move on to stages of discussion on specific conditions of co-operation [the Japan] Ministry of Defense hopes that the Indian side will establish its procurement policy as soon as possible." The spokesperson added that "after India has determined its procurement policy we would like to flexibly respond to requests from India and make our co-operation concrete". The export of the US-2i was the subject of government-to-government agreements signed in December 2015. These accords were signed in Tokyo and, according to the Indian government, related to the "transfer of defence equipment and technology" and the "protection of classified military information".