Japan looks to boost exports of defence components

Japan is focusing on building its defence export profile through transfers of components and subsystems while continuing efforts to secure an initial sale of a major platform, the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has told Jane’s.

ATLA did not provide full details, but the spokesperson cited the export of components and technologies to the United States for integration into the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) air-defence system.

This deal was secured shortly after Tokyo lifted the export ban. It involves the sale of products built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and integrated into the PAC-2 by prime contractor Raytheon. An initial customer of PAC-2 systems fitted with MHI-integrated parts was thought to be Qatar, but this has not been confirmed by ATLA.

Japanese component exports are also believed to have supported programmes such as the development of the Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Block IIA (RIM-161D) interceptor and US exports of the Lockheed Martin Aegis combat system.

The ATLA spokesperson also mentioned Japan’s donations to the Philippines. These include grants to support the transfer of five used TC-90 training aircraft to the Philippine Navy, the transfer of Bell UH-1H helicopter parts and maintenance equipment to the Philippine Air Force, and the transfer of 10 multirole response vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard.

Japan lifted a self-imposed ban on defence exports in April 2014 but has not been successful in selling any home-made major military platforms to international customers. However, ATLA, which was formed in October 2015 with a remit to support international defence sales, said it had achieved deals for parts and subsystems.

“We have made efforts on promoting the transfer of defence equipment and technologies to other countries,” an ATLA spokesperson told Jane’s. “We have not achieved the sale of a finished platform yet, but we are accumulating [sales] through the transfer of components.”

The spokesperson added that “although [Japan] has no record of transferring so-called finished products, we believe it is important to accumulate cases of component-level transfers”.

Credits: Jon Grevatt, Bangkok and Aziz VW

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