Report: Japan looking for military helicopter deal

Japan and international helicopter manufacturers with Japanese partners are reportedly in talks over a project in which the country's military could procure as many as 150 military utility helicopters.
By Richard Tomkins   |   June 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

TOKYO, June 12 (UPI) -- Japanese government officials are reportedly in talks with international helicopter manufacturers over possible production of utility aircraft for its military.

Japan Times , quoting unidentified sources, identified the companies as Bell Helicopter, which is partnered with Fuji Heavy Industries; Airbus Helicopters, teamed with Kawasaki Heavy Industries; and AgustaWestland, whose products are marketed in Japan by Mitsui & Co.

According to the report, discussions are in the early stages and began recently. They represent a milestone in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's effort to foster a domestic military export industry and bring down Japan's defense procurement costs.

The talks also coincide with rising tensions with China over Beijing's increasingly assertive actions over territorial disputes with Japan and other Asian nations.

The helicopter procurement project is called UH-X. It is for the replacement of Japan's aging Huey helicopters, which Japan uses for transporting troops.

The newspaper said the project eyes helicopters that would not only replace the Hueys but could also be exported.

The decade-long project could be worth as much as $2 billion, sources said.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Topics: Shinzo Abe
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Hess completes Bakken joint venture
Whole Foods apologizes for overcharging customers
BP settles with U.S. coastal states for $18.7 billion
Brazil orders search-and-rescue aircraft
Momentum builds behind giant Norwegian oil field