TOKYO --- Japan is in negotiations with New Zealand to export the Self-Defense Forces' patrol and transport aircraft, in hopes of beating out U.S. and European competition to score its first large-scale arms contract.
The deal will also involve the maintenance of the planes, and is potentially worth billions of dollars. Tokyo in September provided unclassified information on the P-1 maritime patrol plane and C-2 transporter, both developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, in response to Wellington's requests.
Representatives from Japan's defense ministry and Kawasaki Heavy are in New Zealand for negotiations. Japan could come up with a proposal in the first half of 2017 concerning the price, production process and maintenance of the planes. It will also consider jointly producing certain parts with New Zealand.
New Zealand will choose the winning bid as early as this summer out of a pool including American and European proposals. The Japanese government will also negotiate a treaty with New Zealand to allow the transfer of defense equipment and technology, a prerequisite to the potential deal. (end of excerpt)
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