India and Japan will discuss the impact of the Rolls-Royce (RR) bribery scandal on the proposed sale of Japanese ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft to India at an upcoming meeting in Tokyo.
The scam threatens to slam the brakes on the proposed acquisition, as the aircraft is powered by four RR AE 2100J turboprop engines.
It deals a blow to Tokyo’s hopes of concluding its first overseas military sale anytime soon since it imposed a weapons export ban in 1967.
On Monday, India put on hold all contracts with the British engine maker, pending the outcome of a CBI probe. RR is in trouble over alleged kickbacks in some deals to supply engines to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
An official said the two sides would discuss the scam’s impact on the proposed sale at the second meeting of the joint working group (JWG) on the US-2 plane in Tokyo later this month.
In January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had discussed the proposed sale and expressed satisfaction over the talks. The first meeting of the JWG took place in Delhi in December 2013.
China has been closely tracking the negotiations to purchase the US-2 STOL (short takeoff and landing) search and rescue amphibian.
It can be used for disaster relief, supporting healthcare on remote islands and maritime surveillance.
The navy has projected a requirement for nine US-2 planes, which will cost more than `6,000 crore.
It can land on 3-m high waves and requires only a 280-m patch to take off and a 310-m one to land.
Eight Indian military aircraft are powered by RR engines. The government has frozen all contracts with the firm for repairing, upgrading and supplying spares for these engines.
In 2010, the navy had issued requests for information on an amphibious aircraft to Canada’s Bombardier for its CL-415 platform and Russia’s Beriev for its Be-200 plane, apart from ShinMaywa Industries.