Skip to comments.Mitsubishi Electric eyes F-35 missile deal with Europe's MBDA: sources
Posted on 07/04/2014 8:47:13 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
(Reuters) - Japan's Mitsubishi Electric (6503.T) has agreed to take the first step towards a partnership with European missile maker MBDA to develop a medium-range air-to-air missile for the F-35 stealth fighter, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
The preliminary deal marks an extension of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's bid to launch Japan's military suppliers into the global arms market through international tie-ups, and thereby bring down costs for Japan's defense procurement.
If successful, it would represent the first time Japanese-built components had been used on a missile sold overseas, one of a string of potential international arms deals to emerge since Abe's government moved in April to end a more than four decade-old ban on military exports.
The value of the missile-development deal remains unclear. Mitsubishi Electric has agreed to start a feasibility study, one of the people said.
Mitsubishi Electric, better known for making refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, is the prime supplier of air-to-air missiles to Japan's Self Defense Forces, including a medium-range model, the AAM-4, used on its F-15 fighters and locally designed F-2 jets. It is also a leading supplier of satellites to the Japanese government.
MBDA is a pan-European company formed more than a decade ago from the missile units of BAE Systems (BAES.L), Airbus (AIR.PA) and Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI).
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That appears to be the Japanese version of the American active radar guided AIM-120 AMRAAM.