After World War II, formerly highly militaristic Japan embraced pacifism fairly wholeheartedly. Even as the Cold War prompted them to build the their “Self Defense Forces” to respectable levels and reestablish a formidable defense industry, they’ve shunned foreign sales of most equipment, particularly airplanes.
For the first time since World War II, though, Japan is on the cusp of a sale of a military aircraft, to India of all places. And intriguingly, they will be selling a flying boat.
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 ShinMaywa US-2 is in production for the Japanese as an amphibious Search And Rescue asset. Based on the reporting I’ve seen, it appears India intends to use the US-2 as a Maritime Patrol Aircraft. If that’s the case, the mission package will have to be provided by a third party, likely either Hindustan Aircraft Industries, or maybe someone like IAI.
India has already bought 8 of the P-8I patrol planes. That’s the Indian version of the P-8A Poseidon just entering service with the US Navy, based on the 737 jetliner. I’ve not seen anything that implies the Indians are unhappy with the P-8I program, so this US-2 purchase would seem to indicate a conscious decision by India to greatly increase its ability to conduct maritime patrol.