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Japan to use C-2 airlifter for stand-off EW aircraft

Japan is set to use its indigenously developed Kawasaki C-2 airlifter as the base platform for its stand-off EW aircraft. Pictured here is the separate RC-2 ELINT version of the aircraft. (Japanese Air Self-Defence Force)

A new stand-off electronic warfare (EW) aircraft being developed by Japan will be based on the Kawasaki C-2 transport aircraft, according to an official source.

The platform has been in development since the start of 2021. It is being designed to interfere with an adversarial power's electromagnetic spectrum outside the threat's range. According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense's annual White Paper, Defense of Japan 2021, the jamming will support counter air operations by Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

Speaking to Janes , the MoD's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) said that C-2 was chosen because the stand-off aircraft is required to carry a large amount of equipment to enable it to conduct “effective jamming” from the outside of the opponent's threat envelope.

“[The] C-2 transport aircraft has been selected as the base platform after considering such factors as its flight performance, maximum payload, and cost,” ATLA said.

Powered by two 228 kN General Electric CF6-80C2K1F turbofans, the C-2 has a maximum take-off weight of 141,000 kg and a maximum payload capacity of 36,000 kg. This is significantly higher than the 45,000 kg maximum take-off weight and the 11,900 kg payload capacity of the C-1 transport aircraft, which was used as the basis for the EC-1 Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) training aircraft.

“By choosing [the] C-2 as the base platform, we make use of existing infrastructure of [the] C-2 and thus effectively and efficiently operate the new C-2 based stand-off EW aircraft,” the agency added.

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