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Kawasaki prepares P-1 replacement project

Japan has trimmed the number of KHI P-1s it intends to procure in favour of acquiring long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). (Damon Coulter/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) has instituted a project team to develop a ‘future fixed-wing patrol aircraft' to replace its P-1 maritime patrol aircraft. The aircraft is currently operational with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

A company spokesperson told Janes that the project team for the ‘future fixed-wing aircraft' was instituted in April 2023 with “expectation of the deployment by the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD)/JMSDF in the 2040s”.

The specifications of the new aircraft are under consideration. According to KHI, the company is waiting for the “concept of future fixed-wing aircraft operations” to be issued by the MoD. A Japan MoD spokesperson confirmed to Janes that the plan for the future aircraft is still under consideration.

The P-1 is a major component of the JMSDF's maritime airborne patrol, anti-ship, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. According to Janes data, the P-1 is equipped with an Advanced Combat Direction System, designated by Toshiba as the HYQ-3. It also has the Toshiba HPS-106 surface search X-band active electronically scanned array (AESA) and is slated to be equipped with a CAE-built Magnetic Anomaly Detector-Extended Role (MAD-XR). The P-1 can also be equipped with a range of air-launched weaponry, including anti-ship missiles, air-to-ground missiles, torpedoes, depth charges, and mines. It is also equipped with a fly-by-light system.

The ‘future fixed-wing patrol aircraft' is expected to have vastly improved systems over the P-1. The MoD said it cannot disclose details about these capabilities. “That said, in general, further long-range missiles and enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) are some technologies and capabilities that are being considered,” the MoD spokesperson added.

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