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Japan sends companies to Singapore Airshow with eyes on foreign market

Japan sends companies to Singapore Airshow with eyes on foreign market

Japan’s Defense Ministry is showcasing 13 domestic companies at the Singapore Airshow this week, among its largest industrial contingent outside the country after the government relaxed post-war arms exports in 2014.

Japanese companies have for decades focused on supplying the Japan Self-Defense Forces, but a shift in the country’s security policy has opened the local defense industry to the global market. Japan has since shipped Patriot missiles developed under a licensing agreement with the U.S., exported radars to the Philippines, and entered into a fighter jet development program with the United Kingdom and Italy.

While Japan’s ruling party has yet to modify rules currently limiting the trilateral fighter jet participation, the government has allocated funds for industry cooperation and supported major defense companies and startups in partnering with foreign counterparts.

As such, Japanese exhibits at the Singapore Airshow showcased a range of systems already in use by its armed forces, including maritime and transport aircraft, helicopters, aerospace parts, semiconductors, radars, and geostationary satellites.

“There is a lot of opportunity for Japanese companies to enter into the global market, but the problem with Japanese companies is they have no experience like foreign companies,” Hideki Fukawa, director for defense equipment cooperation planning with the ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, told Defense News. “We want to take this opportunity to showcase Japanese superiority in defense.”

Among the products on display here are a portable radar made by IT and electronics specialist NEC Corp. Japan’s forces use the technology to monitor aircraft incursions in the airspace of Kyushu and Okinawa.

Yoichi Kashima, an engineer and member of the company’s marketing staff, told Defense News the current iteration of the radar system has been monitoring Japanese airspace for the last 17 years, as it had replaced the first-generation radar of the same type, which was in service 30 years ago.

The radars last for 20 years, Kashima said, but the main selling points are its portability and the ease of setup. “It can be set up by six engineers, and it can be used within 30 minutes,” he explained.

Also at the air show is Subaru’s UH-2 multimission helicopter — aircraft the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force currently uses to protect islands, provide humanitarian assistance, and carry out disaster response as well as and search and rescue operations.

In 2022, the force revealed plans to acquire 150 UH-2 helicopters.

Japan has marketed the UH-2 for export, with the Philippines and Indonesia each expressing interest, according to Kousuke Ichinomiya, an engineer with Subaru’s aerospace division.

“The JGSDF has a very tough audit for helicopters, so this is very reliable,” Ichinomiya told Defense News.

The helicopter is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PT6T-9 engines and equipped with Bell BasiX-Pro integrated avionics systems. It has a 4,500-pound cargo capacity and can be prepped for takeoff in 3 minutes even in extremely hot or cold conditions.

According to the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, other Japanese companies attending the show, and their respective offerings, include:

  • Asahi Metal Industry: aircraft composite parts

  • EdgeCortix: Edge AI inference processor

  • Oki Electric Industry: cockpit display

  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries: P-1 maritime patrol aircraft, C-2 transport aircraft and turbofan engines

  • Kurimoto: 3D metal modeling engine parts

  • Jupiter Corp.: mobile hygiene unit

  • SKY Perfect JSAT: satellite communication service

  • Takagi Steel: metal materials for aircraft

  • Japan Radio Co.: portable LTE base station system

  • Mitsufuji: electromagnetic shield and wristband-type wearable device

Read More: Here

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