Kawasaki Heavy Industries has delivered 10 P-1 maritime patrol/anti-submarine aircraft to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), as it eyes the chance to compete in international competitions.
Beyond the jets already delivered, the Japanese airframer estimates that the JMSDF will require 60 or more additional P-1s to replace the country’s Lockheed Martin P-3C Orions.
A company representative notes that Lockheed has delivered over 500 P-3Cs globally. While most of these went to the US Navy, which is replacing them with the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, there are several international customers that need to replace their P-3s.
The company pitched the P-1 to the UK for the maritime patrol aircraft requirement, which ultimately saw the P-8 selected.
Nonetheless, the representative says that several countries have expressed interest in learning more about the P-1. He declined to specify individual countries.
He adds that P-1 is but one of two “high-end” MPA/ASW aircraft on the international market, with the other being the P-8.
He also touched on the P-1’s unusual four turbofan engine configuration, with the aircraft powered by the indigenous IHI F7-10 turbofan.
“Four engines allows the P-1 to operate at very low altitudes,” he says. “They also improve survivability. If you lose one engine, you can still have three engines to continue your mission.”
Another feature that helps the P-1 at low altitudes is its large wing. The turbofan engines are also quieter than the four turboprop engines that power the P-3C. This, Kawasaki says, makes it more difficult for submerged submarines to detect the P-1 acoustically.
In JMSDF service, the the P-1 is equipped with a full suite of sensors consistent with patrol missions, such as an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar that can detect a range of targets , a magnetic anomaly detector, and electro/optical sensor.
The aircraft’s weapons load out includes torpedoes, mines, and surface attack munitions. Production will rise to about five aircraft annually in the coming years.
Tokyo has eased restrictions covering the export of defence equipment in recent years. Exports of products such as the P-1 are subject to government approvals, but the previous blanket ban.