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Japan seeks to export military equipment to UAE

Posted August. 28, 2017 08:10,   

Updated August. 28, 2017 08:38


Japan has been nurturing its defense industry since scrapping a ban on its weapons exports in 2014, but is now seeking to export its latest transport aircraft, the C-2, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The country also plans to participate in the bidding in late September for a contract to supply Thailand with an air defense radar system. If signed, the contract would become Japan's first case of largest-scale weapons export. Japan sought to sell submarines to Australia and anti-submarine patrol aircrafts to Britain, only to fail.

Japanese daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported on Sunday that the Japanese government is considering sales of the Air Self-Defense Force's C-2 transport aircraft to the UAE. Government ministries are already providing specifications and other related information about the vehicle to the UAE, according to the daily.

Developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the C-2 has a cruising range of 7,600 kilometers, roughly twice as far as that of Lockheed Martin's C-130 Hercules, according to the newspaper. In addition, the C-2 can carry about 20 tons, four times more than the C-130. The C-2 is wide enough to carry amphibious and combat vehicles. The aircraft is priced at 19 billion yen (173 million U.S. dollars). The UAE approached Japan about buying several C-2s, according to the daily.

Japan is also seeking to export the FPS-3 air defense radar system built by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. The system is capable of receiving and transmitting signals in all directions without rotating the antennas and is assessed to have superb capabilities for detecting and tracing aircrafts. Japan's Sankei newspaper reported that Japan's exports of key military equipment to Thailand would provide a strong check against China. The daily also reported that the Self-Defense Forces can expect to share information on the Chinese air force's movements by continuing to get involved in the operation and maintenance of the radar system.

However, a potential stumbling block would be the fact that Thailand purchased a Chinese-built submarine earlier this year, as Beijing could put pressure on Bangkok against the possible introduction of the Japanese radar system.

Won-Jae Jang peacechaos@donga.com

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