Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Civil aircraft, defense and space-related projects all pose opportunities for Wisconsin companies.
Japan remains a major importer of aircraft, aircraft parts and engines. U.S. firms have a major presence in the market due to longstanding relationships, some spanning over 50 years, with Japanese manufacturers and trading companies. U.S. firms are presented with opportunities in the market as the domestic industry undertakes international projects, develops transport and patrol aircraft for defense, and develops small jets and small jet engines for civil aviation.
In the civil aircraft market, Japanese manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries supply about 35% of the content for the Boeing 787. It was announced in 2014 that Japan would supply about 20% of the content for Boeing 777X. Although the size of investment is yet to be determined, Japanese firms are planning to expand their facilities in order to meet this new demand.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries established Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MJET) in April 2008 to undertake the design, type certification, procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support of Space Jet (formerly Mitsubishi Regional Jet). Mitsubishi had announced in October 2007 that it selected Pratt & Whitney to supply geared turbofan engines for the aircraft. This next-generation engine makes planes plane 20% to 30% more efficient, and about 15% cheaper to operate, than conventional regional jets. Other U.S. manufacturers such as Parker Aerospace (hydraulic systems), Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation (electrical power systems) and Rockwell Collins (flight control systems) are also suppliers for Space Jet.
In the defense sector, Japan has adopted new principles and guidance on arms exports, the first major overhaul of its arms embargo policy in nearly half a century. Japan will now allow arms exports, but only if they serve the purpose of contributing to international cooperation and its security interests. Japan is seeking ways to commercialize C-2, a small transport aircraft. In addition, Japan is working with India to sell its US-2 amphibious patrol aircraft.
Japanese space-related projects are on track with world standards. Japan has successfully developed launch vehicles such as the M-V and H-IIA. In the satellite field, Japan has contributed to the development of various engineering test satellites, observation satellites and global navigation satellites.
When compared with the automobile, home electric, computer and other industries in Japan, the aerospace industry is still relatively small. The trade balance had a significant deficit because of the large volume of aircraft procurements by airlines, but the deficit is gradually narrowing with growing demand for aircraft exports in the private sector.