Jan 29, 2014
India close to buying japanese US-2 hydro planes military aircraft
New Delhi is likely to buy at least 15 of the planes.
For the moment, a stripped-down civilian version of the US-2i 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, another defence official said.
The two countries are discussing assembling the aircraft in India, giving India access to Japanese military technology.
The plane has a range of over 4,500 km (2,800 miles), which will give it reach far into Southeast Asia.
The navy plans to use the Japanese-built plane to support ships on long range missions, a role that is increasing as it steps up its profile across the Indian Ocean to counter rival China.
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.
The plan is to deliver two aircraft and then assemble the rest of the planes with an Indian partner.
India's navy is also interested in Japanese patrol vessels and electronic warfare equipment as Tokyo moves further along in easing its ban on military exports.