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Japan extends talks with USA

Japan and the USA have extended the discussion period for possible co-operation on their respective P-X and Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) programmes until mid-year, in a move which will enable Japan to receive information that cannot be provided until the US Navy has selected Boeing or Lockheed Martin to meet its maritime patrol requirements.

With Japan's budget being drained by the Kawasaki C-X military transport aircraft and new ballistic missile defence programmes, US manufacturers are hoping that the Kawasaki-led P-X project will be axed in preference for the purchase or licence-build of the MMA system. However, Japanese companies argue that the P-X programme has passed the point of no return and that Tokyo could reduce programme costs by importing some equipment developed for MMA.

BRENDAN SOBIE / SINGAPORE

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