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Japan, Greece discuss defence trade co-operation

03 August 2018
Japan and Greece have discussed potential defence trade co-operation. Greece has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring ShinMaywa Industries’ US-2 search and rescue aircraft for fire-fighting operations. Source: Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force

Japan and Greece have held preliminary talks about co-operation in defence trade and technology, with a view to possibly supporting Japanese exports to the European country.

A spokesperson from the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Jane’s on 2 August that the two countries had “exchanged views on defence equipment and technology co-operation at [a] working level”.

Reports in Japan in late July said Greece had expressed interest in Japanese company ShinMaywa Industries’ US-2 amphibious search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft.

The Nikkei Asian Review newspaper reported that Japan is looking to begin negotiations with Greece about the potential sale. According to the report, Greece wants to procure “several dozen” US-2 aircraft, which would be fitted with water tanks and used principally in fire-fighting operations.

However, the ATLA spokesperson said Japan and Greece had not yet discussed specific platforms and technologies and that Tokyo had “no specific plan” to export the US-2 to Greece.

In the past Japan has had discussions with both India and Indonesia about the potential export of the US-2 SAR aircraft. Thailand has also expressed interest in the platform.

The biggest opportunity for such a sale is likely to be to the Indian Navy, which has a stated requirement for 12 US-2 aircraft for an estimated USD1.6 billion. Japan and India have been engaged in talks about a potential sale of the aircraft for several years. Delays have been attributed to India’s complex procurement rules and discussions on technology transfers and offsets.

Jane’s has previously reported that the Indian Navy plans to directly import two US-2 aircraft and assemble and licence build the remaining 10 in collaboration with a private-sector Indian manufacturer.

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