Indias plan to acquire at least 15 US-2i amphibious aircraft for its Navy from Japan is expected to fructify when the defence minister of Japan arrives in India next month.
Speaking to FE, a senior officer said, Soon after the Emperor of Japans visit is over, Itsunori Onodera, the defence minister of Japan, will visit India to explore the potential for cooperation between the defence and aviation industries between the two countries, as well as to figure out the mechanism and modalities for the acquisition of the aircraft by the Indian Navy. Also, Onodera will also be seeking confirmation from India on cooperation in dealing with the issue of piracy in the Indian Ocean.
India has reportedly clarified that it is reviewing the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET), thereby placing the Shinmaywa US-2i as a dual civilian-and-military item. India has accepted the high cost of the aircraft to build up the strategic partnership.
The two sides had set up a joint working group to decide the terms of the cooperation of the US-2i amphibious aircraft when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Tokyo in May this year, and could possibly include joint production, operation and training on the US-2i amphibious aircraft. The Indian Navy earlier issued a request for information (RFI) for the aircraft. Canadas Bombardier, Japans ShinMaywa and Russias Beriev had offered their aircraft to meet the requirements.