Japan looks to Greece for first major defence export

With the US-2 priced at more than $90 million, Greece is expected to seek assistance from the EU in making the purchase. (Photo courtesy of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force) - Reuters via Nikkei Asian Review

Nikkei Asian Review — Japan will begin negotiations with Greece to export the US-2 rescue aircraft in a deal that would mark the nation’s first sale of finished defence equipment, sources have told Nikkei.

Greece is modernizing its ageing fleet of firefighting planes and plans to replace several dozen. The European country has expressed interest in buying the amphibious craft produced by ShinMaywa Industries.

The US-2 has a range of 4,700 km and the ability to land in 3-meter waves. The aircraft, used by Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force for search-and-rescue missions at sea, would be fitted with water tanks for sale to Greece.

Cash-strapped Athens will seek financial assistance from the European Union, a Japanese official said. The aircraft is priced at $90 million.