The Kawasaki P-1 (previously known as the P-X and XP-1) is a Japanese maritime patrol aircraft developed and manufactured by Kawasaki Aerospace Company. Unlike many maritime patrol aircraft, which are typically conversions of civilian designs, the P-1 is a purpose-built maritime aircraft with no civil counterpart and was designed from the onset for the role. It has the distinction of being the first operational aircraft in the world to make use of a fly-by-light control system.
The P-1 has entered service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as a replacement for the P-3C Orion. On March 26th</sup[> 2013, the JMSDF took delivery of the first two operational P-1 aircraft. Export customers are also being sought for the type as part of a general loosening of Japanese military export restrictions.
Development[edit | edit source]
With its P-3C aircraft having been in service for twenty years, the JMSDF began to look for a replacement maritime patrol aircraft. Lockheed and the United States had been working on the Lockheed P-7 to replace its own P-3s, but the program had been cancelled. Since other similar aircraft (such as the Nimrod) did not meet the JMSDF's requirements, they decided to develop their own aircraft.
The project was intended to share many design components with the Kawasaki C-X, another local design intended to replace the C-1 and C-130H cargo aircraft. However, due to the very different roles of the two aircraft, only minimal similarities have been achieved. The merit rather lies in the sharing of development resources, allowing a large reduction in development costs. Total development costs included C-X are 345 billion Yen ($3 billion) at 2007.
Design[edit | edit source]
The P-X and C-X designs were originally independent, but it was later decided to make certain components common to both designs. Common components shared with the C-X are cockpit windows, outer wing, and horizontal stabilizer. Other internal shared parts include auxiliary power unit, cockpit panel, flight control system computer, anti collision light, and gear control unit. Development costs decreased by about 25 billion yen ($218 million) due to shared components. Unit costs and operational costs are expected to be lower thanks to this initiative.
The P-1 will also have an artificial intelligence (AI) system to assist TACCO operation. Similar to the SH-60K, an advanced combat direction system able to show the TACCO operator the best flight course to attack a submarine will also be on board.
Fly-by-light will be an important feature, decreasing electro-magnetic disturbances to the sensors compared to fly-by-wire. The P-1 will be the first production aircraft to be equipped with such a flight control system.
Sensors on the P-1, such as Toshiba HPS-106 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), and Infrared/Light detection systems, will be used to detect submarines and small vessels. The aircraft will share operational capabilities with the P-8, with some sensors being the same(i.e. CAE-designed MAD system).
The P-1 will have a bomb bay for anti-submarine weapons, as well as eight external pylons to carry ASMs or bombs.
Variants[edit | edit source]
- XP-1: Prototype, later reclassified as UP-1 and assigned to Air Development Squadron 51.
- YPX: A cancelled two-engine airliner variant.