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Friday, September 11, 2015

Japan's defense industry is super excited about this amphibious plane

ShinMaywa US-2In April 2014 the Japanese government finally lifted its postwar ban on the export of defense products. Tokyo approved its first arms export this summer — the supply of PAC-2 missile parts to the U.S., which will then sell the completed Patriot missiles to Qatar.

It's only a matter of time before Tokyo sells a major military platform rather than just parts. With a wealth of experience in manufacturing armor, ships, submarines and helicopters, there's a lot for potential buyers to choose from. But Japan's first sale will probably be a search-and-rescue amphibious aircraft — a seaplane — called the US-2.

Japan and India have been discussing the sale of the amphibian since 2012. The platform's civilian search-and-rescue role allowed talks to progress even before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government revised the principles governing defense exports.

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