Thailand considering buying Japanese sub-hunting aircraft

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Thailand is mulling buying Japan’s maritime patrol aircraft, the Kawasaki Heavy Industries P-1, as well as US-2 maritime surveillance aircraft, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Japanese defence minister General Nakatani is set to meet Thailand’s deputy prime minister and defense minister, Prawit Wongsuwan, to discuss a possible arms deal on June 7th. The talks are said to cover discussions on more defence technology co-operation between the two countries.

“The contract, a prerequisite for exports of defense equipment from Japan, would require Thailand to get Japan’s nod before transferring or using any of the supplied equipment and related technologies for purposes other than those initially set forth”, says the Nikkei Asian Review.

Japan markets the P-1 submarine hunting plane as an alternative to the Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion, a patrol aircraft currently used by Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand.

Tokyo also offers the ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious search and rescue aircraft to several APAC countries including India. India has expressed an interest since 2011, but no deal has been signed until now and Japanese officials said in March that Japan has no plan to sell or deliver the US-2 in the immediate future.

The most important military hardware being considered by Thailand’s military is the long range P-1 sub hunting plane. It was introduced in March 2013 for an operational test period of two years, and is a four engined jet with a range of 8,000 km, and maximum speed of 996 kmph.

SOURCE: Nikkei Asian Review.

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