BERLIN --– The German government is increasingly cautious about allowing Japan to take part in a joint project with France to develop marine patrol aircraft, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.
As part of its efforts to boost defense-related exports, Japan has been seeking to offer technologies from its P-1 patrol aircraft for the project. But concerns are mounting in Germany that the P-1 may not be able to acquire the certification for military aircraft at an early date, the sources said.
Germany had been more positive than France about Japan’s participation and had been showing interest in the P-1. Berlin’s change of attitude puts Japan at a disadvantage in a competition with rivals including U.S. aerospace giant Boeing Co.
The P-1 was developed by the Defense Ministry and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. as the first Japan-made patrol aircraft. It has been used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force since 2013 to monitor submarines and other vessels.
In the past, Japan tried to sell the P-1 to the U.K. and New Zealand, but the aircraft lost to Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon.
Germany and France plan to jointly introduce next-generation patrol aircraft in 2035, when their current models are to retire.
In June, the German Defense Ministry decided to end the use of the current P-3C Orion built by Lockheed Martin Corp. in 2025, ahead of the initial schedule of 2035, due to high repair costs. It plans to procure stop-gap patrol planes and use them until 2035. (end of excerpt)
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