Japan and the USA are meeting in March to further discuss joint development of a next-generation mission system for maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).

The two countries are acquiring different MPA platforms but signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2002 to study possible co-operation and interoperability. The MoU expires in March and the two sides plan to discuss forging a new MoU or another type of agreement.

Industry sources say the easing of Japanese defence export bans could result in technology transfers between Japan's P-X and the USA's Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) programmes. Japan is revising regulations prohibiting defence exports, but a joint Japanese-US ballistic missile defence programme is driving this effort and it is unclear what the ramifications will be for other programmes.

Japanese companies have long pushed the government to allow at least some defence exports and are hoping the change could lead to new business opportunities.

Japan plans to import equipment for the P-X platform where indigenous systems are more expensive, but believes joint purchases from Western suppliers could be pursued in some cases with the USA.

Source: Flight International