Twelve Japanese long-range US-2i aircraft will be procured for the Indian Navy for around $1.65 billion under the ‘buy global’ clause of the Defence Procurement Procedure, government sources said.
Though the Narendra Modi-led government has been pushing for ‘Make In India’, the deal, which is going to be government-to-government, was changed from ‘buy and make global’ to ‘buy global’ after amendments were made to two chapters of the DPP, and subsequent rounds of discussions with the industry association.
Both New Delhi and Tokyo have been discussing and attempting to iron out all issues related to the purchase of ShinMaywa Industries’ US-2i amphibious aircraft and have had discussions with the Japanese government too.
Talking to FE on the condition of anonymity, a senior officer said, “The plan to Buy Global will be sent to the Defence Acquisition Committee in a couple of months before any formal decision is made. Also, there will be a 30% offset clause that the Japanese side will be signing. ”
The Indian government has been keen on acquiring the ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft from Japan as part of their expanding bilateral strategic partnership, with both nations wary of China’s assertive behaviour in the Asia-Pacific region. However, there is no concept of foreign military sales in Japan, hence the DAC has to give an approval before it moves forward.
The deal, which has an approval of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, is waiting for an acceptance of necessity (AON) from the Indian Navy. While the army, navy and the coast guard are supporting the requirement of these planes, “It will be like an AON that the navy requires 12 US-2i as of now, and the commercial negotiations for them can begin. The coast guard, in turn, may require five such planes,” explained a defence ministry source.
It was during PM Modi’s visit to that country for talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe that the two directed the JWG to “accelerate progress in the discussions and preparations for a roadmap for the development of the Indian aircraft industry through the US-2i aircraft cooperation”.
The US-2i is a unique aircraft, capable of short take-offs from land as well as water, with a range of over 4,500 km. Powered by four turbo-prop engines, it can land even on rough seas amid three-metre-high waves.
Though the plane is mainly designed for air-sea search and rescue operations, it can also rapidly transport 30 combat-ready soldiers to “hot zones” in an emergency. “The aircraft will give a huge boost to our operational logistics in areas like the far-flung but strategically critical Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It can also land spares and equipment in close proximity to warships on the high seas,” said an official.
The Indian Navy had issued a request for information (RFI) for the aircraft. Canada’s Bombardier, Japan’s ShinMaywa and Russia’s Beriev had offered their aircraft to meet the requirements.
Speaking to FE on conditions of anonymity, a senior officer said, “All the three aircraft failed in the field evaluation trials (FET), carried out on calm and rough seas. Also, because there is a lack of experience of the Indian Navy in amphibian aircraft operations.”
* Twelve Japanese long-range US-2i aircraft will be procured for the Indian Navy for around $1.65 billion under the ‘buy global’ clause of the Defence Procurement Procedure
* The Indian government has been keen on acquiring the ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft from Japan as part of their expanding bilateral strategic partnership, with both nations wary of China’s assertive behaviour in the Asia-Pacific region