Japan considering exporting of naval ship communication antennas to India

The Japanese government is considering exporting naval ship communication antennas to India, Nikkei has learned.

The NORA-50 antenna, dubbed “UNICORN,” was jointly developed by a group of Japanese companies that includes electronics maker NEC and Yokohama Rubber.

Sources close to the matter said the government is still deciding how many antennas will be sold as well as the cost of the contract.

If the deal goes through, it will be just the second time Japan has exported defense equipment since it lifted a ban on such transfers in 2014.

The first came last year when radar systems were exported to the Philippines.

The antenna deal would expand Japan-India security relations to defense equipment, which in turn would likely strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Japan hopes the deal will also lead to India decreasing its heavy reliance on Russia for defense equipment.

The UNICORN is deployed on Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force FFM escort vessel, and is known for its stealth design in which several antennas are housed in a horn-shaped structure.

It enables the SDF to detect the movement of missiles and drones with its ability to sense radio waves from a wide area.

Under Japanese law, it can be difficult to export defense equipment that could be used as a lethal weapon. The UNICORN would not violate the law as it is a communication tool.

Until now, the only precedent of Japan exporting fully assembled defense equipment — not parts — was the radar system to the Philippines.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), a framework including Japan, Australia, the U.S. and India, is expected to hold a summit in India this year.

The sources said one plan is to confirm the UNICORN deal there during a meeting between Japan and India’s leaders.

India traditionally has imported the vast majority of its arms and defense goods from Russia.

New Delhi has not taken part in Group of Seven-led sanctions on Russia related to the Ukraine war.

India has also been criticized by some for supporting Moscow by buying large amounts of Russian gas.

But India is beginning to diversify its supply of defense equipment through deals with the U.S., France and Israel.

Also, New Delhi is aiming to manufacture more arms domestically to nurture its industries.

Negotiations with Japan on importing communication antennas also include potential technology transfers and local production, the sources said.

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Aerospace-Defense-Industries/Japan-eyes-export-of-stealth-naval-ship-antennas-to-India