India to buy seaplanes- from Japan!

After World War II, formerly highly militaristic Japan embraced pacifism fairly wholeheartedly. Even as the Cold War prompted them to build the their “Self Defense Forces” to respectable levels and reestablish a formidable defense industry, they’ve shunned foreign sales of most equipment, particularly airplanes.

For the first time since World War II, though, Japan is on the cusp of a sale of a military aircraft, to India of all places. And intriguingly, they will be selling a flying boat.

For the moment, a stripped-down civilian version of the US-2i plane is being offered to India, to get around Japan’s self-imposed ban on arms exports. A friend or foe identification system will be removed from the aircraft, another defence official said.

The ShinMaywa US-2 is in production for the Japanese as an amphibious Search And Rescue asset. Based on the reporting I’ve seen, it appears India intends to use the US-2 as a Maritime Patrol Aircraft. If that’s the case, the mission package will have to be provided by a third party, likely either Hindustan Aircraft Industries, or maybe someone like IAI.

File:US-1A-KAI-Flying boat01.jpg

India has already bought 8 of the P-8I patrol planes. That’s the Indian version of the P-8A Poseidon just entering service with the US Navy, based on the 737 jetliner. I’ve not seen anything that implies the Indians are unhappy with the P-8I program, so this US-2 purchase would seem to indicate a conscious decision by India to greatly increase its ability to conduct maritime patrol. 

8 thoughts on “India to buy seaplanes- from Japan!”

  1. And the US-2 is a very capable amphib. Carries a 5th turboshaft engine behind the cockpit to provide blown flaps/elevator without taking power from the mains.

  2. You’ll note that the amphibians are to be based in the Andaman Islands. For that environment, they make perfect sense, because decent airfields are impossible to construct on such low-lying territory. They can land at sea, in a bay, then be pulled ashore to a maintenance base with hangars. When they return to the mainland periodically for overhaul, they can use conventional air bases.

    I see them as complementing the P-8’s, not as a rival for them.

  3. So, to remove the IFF/Transponder, you twist 4 Dzus-type fastners 1/4 turn, and remove a Canon-plug.
    Re-installation is just as easy. What’s the big deal?
    I worked as a DoD contractor on attack-helicopters for a couple of years at Ft. Lewis.
    We tested ALL the electronics and replaced as necessary.
    All that stuff is totally modular.
    If the wiring harness is still in place, it’s a five minute job.
    I suppose, if it meets the “Spirit of The Ban”, it’s all good…

  4. Amazing resemblance to the 50s-60s Martin P5M-2 Marlin, except for the 2 added engines(turboprops vs. recips) and the retractable landing gear.

    1. Does Consolidated’s successor (Boeing) still hold a design patent on the folding float ala the PBY Catalina? Probably squeeze some decent extra range if the floats were so modified. From the pic above it would be well clear of the leading-edge slats.

  5. Air&Space magazine had an article on it a few years ago, it can handle ocean swells. It’s a serious blue-water flying boat, there is nothing else in its class. Canadair offers a maritime patrol version of the CL415 waterbomber and Dornier has a 12 seater model that’s meant for flying fishermen into the bush, neither are really suited to the deep ocean, the Dornier can handle “2-1/2 foot seas”.

  6. Japanese had a good tradition of seaplanes in WWII so the tradition continues. The mainland Chinese fly a 4 engine (turboprop) that looks like a clone of the Japanese version.

    1. A traipse through Greg Geobel’s Air Vectors shows that ShinMaiwa is the direct descendent of the Kawanishi Aircraft Company, builders of the WWII Mavis & Emily flying boats.

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