The Japanese government has approved the first export of missile parts under its new arms sales policy, authorizing (MHI) to supply unspecified components for the Patriot PAC-2 surface-to-air weapon to .
As executives and analysts worldwide wonder how far Japan will meld itself into the global defense industry, the sale to Raytheon and a similar one last year tosuggest that any of the country’s many license production programs may now potentially supply the licensor.
MHI makes the PAC-2 under license from Raytheon. According to a member of Parliament, the chief of the U.S. company’s Japanese subsidiary said in 2012 that Raytheon had asked MHI to supply the parts. Sourcing from MHI had been a long-standing ambition of Raytheon, which had suggested that after the policy change MHI could help make every PAC-2 sold worldwide, said the MP, Satoshi Inoue.
Rolls-Royce had sourced parts for one of its naval gas turbines from licensee Kawasaki Heavy Industries last year, before Japan formally loosened its ban on arms-exports in April 2014.
According to the new policy, sales may be permissible if they contribute to Japanese security through joint development and production projects. In both the Raytheon and Rolls-Royce cases, domestic license production has now been turned into joint-production.
Problems could arise if the foreign prime contractor seeks to sell to a third country, however. Japan will not supply to countries that violate international treaties or U.N. resolutions, or to those engaged in conflict.
The sale to Raytheon was approved at a July 17 meeting of the National Security Council, Nikkei press reported. At the same meeting, the council also authorized collaborative work on air-to-air missile guidance with Britain.