Kawasaki Heavy Industries has begun a formal study on the feasibility of developing a civilian version of its C-X military cargo aircraft.
Dubbed the YCX, the civil version will have a similar configuration to the C-X and target airlines that use aircraft such as the Ilyushin IL-76, said Takumi Kobayashi, senior staff officer at the commercial aircraft design section in KHI's engineering division.
"KHI is doing a feasibility study of a civil aircraft. We are looking at both the engineering requirements and the business case for such an aircraft," he added.
The company has not revealed when it hopes to make a decision on this, but industry sources say that it hopes to have an authorisation to offer by the end of March 2014, with a firm decision to be made a year later. Entry into service could be in 2019-20.
KHI has also unveiled some of the technical details of the YCX. It would have an overall length of 43.9m (144ft), a height of 14.2m and a wingspan of 44.4m. The aircraft will have a maximum take-off weight of 141 tonnes and a maximum payload of 30 tonnes. It would be powered by two CF-80C2 engines that would help provide a range of 3,080nm (5,700km) at maximum payload.
The cargo room will have a floor length of 16m, a width of 4m, and a height of 4m. It would come with a 5.5m-long ramp door. This would, for example, allow it to carry one medium-sized helicopter or two GE90 engines.