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C-X / XC-2 Transport Follow-on

The Ministry of Defense began development of the XC-2 in 2001 as a replacement of the current C-1. It has been developed concurrently with the XP-1 fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft. In November 2001, Kawasaki was nominated as a prime contractor for developing these airplanes with aircraft manufacturers and other participating companies. The XC-2 employs a newly developed flight control system and an enhanced labor-saving loading/unloading system. Powered by GE engines, the XC-2 has a greater flight range capability and superior maximum cruise speed than its predecessor.

Japan is pursuing an indigenous aircraft program that intends to share a common airframe with a domestic C-1 transport follow-on. It is felt that coupling the P-3 replacement program with an airframe common to the C-1 transport replacement can achieve significant cost savings. The C-X/P-X is a joint JASDF/JMSDF effort to create a next-generation cargo transport (C-X) and a next-generation maritime patrol/ antisubmarine warfare aircraft (P-X). In fiscal 2001, ended March 31, 2002, JDA began concurrently developing the P-X fixed-wing patrol aircraft and the C-X transport aircraft to put them into operation in fiscal 2007. The Japanese military planned to buy 80 PXs and 44 C-Xs, with the P-X entering service in 2011 and the C-X in 2012.

Initially replacement with existing foreign systems could not be ruled out. The C-X requirement could be met by Lockheed Martin's C-130J, Airbus's A400M, or Boeing's C-17, or a mixed fleet of these types. Even with local production or industry offsets, these acquisitions would involve considerably smaller Japanese industry roles than those planned for P-X/C-X.

In November 2001, the JDA selected Kawasaki to lead the C-X/P-X program. Kawasaki had been the prime contractor for the two aircraft that would be replacemed by the new aircraft family, the C-1 transport and the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. The company built 107 P-3s under license from Lockheed Martin, the last one delivered in early 2000. Kawasaki is active in a diverse range of knowledge-intensive facets of the aviation industry, and is one of Japan's leading aircraft and engine manufacturers. The Company has played a major role as the prime contractor for the Ministry of Defense (MOD) T-4 intermediate jet trainer and the P-3C antisubmarine warfare patrol airplane. It is now also the prime contractor for the development of two large, next-generation aircraft, the P-X maritime patrol airplane and the C-X transport aircraft, on which work has already begun.

The Japanese Air Self Defense Force required C-X (cargo aircraft) to replace the ageing Kawasaki C-1 aircraft platform. The first C-1 prototype flew in 1970. Similar to the P-X program, Kawasaki intended to have two prototype aircraft ready in 2007.

Notably the two aircraft under development will have partially identical body structures and systems. The C-X will replace the Kawasaki C-1A; it has a high-mounted wing and two General Electric CF6-80C2L1F/F138-GE-100 engines. In contrast, while the P-X uses essentially the same outer wing, flight deck/nose section and tail unit, it is a low-wing aircraft with four new Japanese F7 engines. Given the rather divergent missions for the two planes, it is not surprising that early hopes for significant commonality have not been realized. The C-X has a high wing with two General Electric CF6-80C2 turbofans, while P-X has a low wing with four smaller (and completely new) Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries XF-7 engines. The fuselages are almost completely different, too, with the P-X relying on a new, risky maritime patrol combat system. The only commonality is in the flight deck and some relatively small wing and rear-fuselage components. With the high level of nearly unique development work necessary for the two programs, it is unclear whether Japan will chose to develop and produce both types.

On March 16, 2006 Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. delivered the #01 test aircraft of the C-X, which will be used for full-scale static tests, to the Japan Defense Agency's (JDA) Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI). In December 2005, the test plane of this next-generation transport aircraft was transferred from Kawasaki's Gifu Works to the strength test center of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Gifu Air Base for assembly. Once delivered to TRDI, a variety of tests will be conducted by JDA using load frames, load actuators and measuring instruments. Kawasaki assembled the P-X #01 test plane for static tests and the P-X #1 and C-X #1 test planes for flight tests.

Delays have plagued the C-X program. On July 4, 2007 Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced that it had rolled out the #1 test P-X fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft and C-X transport aircraft at its Gifu Works. This initial roll-out was pushed back due to a problem with rivets bought in the USA. Like the XP-1, first flight was set for September 2007, but structural problems led to further delays. Tests in 2007 revealed a problem with the C-X's horizontal stabiliser and cracks were found around the main landing gear and fuselage. It had been difficult to rectify this problem and KHI may have to go back to the drawing board with the design. The defence ministry was conducting static tests on the aircraft before scheduling its first flight, which was expected by the end of 2008, with mid-2009 as a likelier target.

On March 30, 2010 Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. delivered the #1 test XC-2 transport aircraft to the Ministry of Defense (MOD). Manufactured and rolled out at Kawasaki's Gifu Works, the XC-2 test aircraft completed its first flight in January 2010 after a series of ground tests. This was followed by in-house flight and other scheduled testing before delivery to the MOD. Production of the #2 test XC-2 transport aircraft, which is scheduled for delivery to the MOD by the end of March 2011, is underway as Kawasaki moves ahead toward full completion of the project.

Length44 m / 143 ft
Wingspan44 m / 143 ft
Height14 m
Cruise Speed890 km/h
Max. Payload30 tonnes? 26 tonnes?
Range6500 km (Range at any payload is unknown)
Engines2 CF6-80C2
Flight Control SystemFly-by-wire

On 20 August 2010, a report was issued stating that the diversion of aircraft to civilian use be promoted in the Ministry at the meeting whose members included the experts such as professors who had accumulated discussions on the diversion of aircraft developed by the Ministry of Defense to civilian use. At the previous meetings, the members had heard from manufacturers of the targeted aircraft for diversion to civilian use, such as US-2 amphibious search and rescue plane, and XC-2 next-generation transportation aircraft over the features of these aircraft, the idea of diversion to passengers transportation or multipurpose amphibian plane, and challenges on the establishment of diversion-related export procedures, and deepened discussions. After these discussions, the public comment procedure on this matter was implemented. At this final meeting, they concluded their discussions and drafted guidelines the payment method to the government from the companies implementing the diversion of the aircraft to civilian use for technical document usage and on the disclosure and usage procedure of technical documents which the MOD possesses in order to draw up and embody the system plan for diversion of the technology to civilian use.

These aircraft developed by the Ministry of Defense were purchased by the Ministry of Defense only, so the manufactures were affected by the decrease of purchasing number of aircrafts by the Ministry, arising from difficult financial conditions and other factors. The diversion to civilian use will enable manufactures to secure markets other than the Ministry of Defense, and reduce their dependence on the Ministry.

To the Ministry of Defense, the development, production, and sales of aircraft diverted to civilian use can contribute to the preservation and /enhancement of defense production and technological infrastructure in Japan. The advantages such as reductions in the procurement costs of aircraft due to mass production, use of maintenance facilities for aircraft diverted to civilian use, and so on can also be expected. From now on, the Ministry of Defense would move forward to embody the system design for the diversion, covering issues such as payments from the companies to the government, and technical documents usage in relation to development of diverted aircraft. The relevant Ministries and agencies would work together as a whole to promote and realize the diversion of the aircraft to civilian use.

The 40-years life cycle cost of 40 C-2s is estimated about 1730 billion yen. Then the LCC of one C-2 is about 43 billion yen. the total development costs of C-X (XC-2) and P-X (XP-1) are about 340 billion Yen (approximately US$3.8 billion) and XC-2 will be estimated about 12 billion Yen (US$133 millon) each.

YCX / XC-2 YCX / XC-2 YCX / XC-2

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Page last modified: 10-12-2015 19:42:26 ZULU