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MPX / P-X / P-1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft Follow-on

In FY2012, the Technical Research and Development Institute completed the development of P-1, the successor aircraft to P-3C, the fixed-wing patrol aircraft of the Maritime Self-Defense Force. Although P-3C was developed by the Lockheed Corporation and was prepared domestically under license, the engine, airframe and mission system of the P-1 were developed in Japan. The features of P-1 are its high-bypass ratio turbofan engine, flight performance by incorporating a fly-by-light* flight control system, and the significant improvement of tactical information handling, communications, search/detection/identification capacities. Its characteristics lead to improved capability of constant information gathering, warning and surveillance capacities under normal circumstances.

Japan pursued 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, with an initial goal to put them into operation in fiscal 2007. The Japanese military planned to buy 80 PXs replacing the Kawasaki-built P-3C Orions and 44 C-Xs, with the P-X entering service in 2011 and the C-X in 2012.

The XP-1 employs the world's first operational fly-by-light (FBL) system with high electromagnetic interference tolerance, as well as new acoustic and radar systems with enhanced detection capabilities. It is also equipped with new engines developed with homegrown technologies. The aircraft boasts a greater flight range capability and superior maximum cruise speed than its predecessors.

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. 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.

The Ministry began development of the XP-1 along with the C-X transport aircraft in 2001 to replace the current P-3C model. In November 2001, Kawasaki earned prime contractor status to develop these airplanes with other aircraft manufacturers and other participating companies. Kawasaki expected to produce prototypes of P-X Maritime Patrol Aircraft aircraft under contract from the Japanese Defense Agency. The new aircraft had been in development to replace the Lockheed P-3 Orion, which Kawasaki had been manufacturing under the license agreement for maritime patrol missions. The P-X prototype was initially expected to have its first flight in 2007.

Initially, replacement with existing foreign systems was not ruled out. The P-X requirement could be met by the a Boeing 737 P-8 MMA (Multimission Maritime Aircraft) Aircraft). The United States and Japan collectively deploy over 75% of all P-3 aircraft globally. Both countries seek improvements. 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 contrast with the case of ballistic missile programs - in which Japanese generally expressed a desire to be a partner with the United States - development of an indigenous P-3 replacement was characterized as having been decided officially, with consideration being given to maintaining interoperability with US systems. Japanese believed that the United States had lagged behind Japan in articulating requirements for a P-3 replacement, leading Japan to initiate its own programs independently.

In December 2004 it was announced that the Defense Agency will equip next-generation PX patrol planes with a jet engine developed by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. and other domestic companies. GE's Aviation Systems business is a global provider of innovative solutions to builders and operators of military and civil aircraft and engines, from large transport to fighters and UAVs, from helicopters to regional and business jets. GE provides highly integrated systems in areas critical to aircraft performance and a range of specializations essential to create affordable integrated systems.

The MPX engine development was Japan's most ambitious to date, though IHI previously developed the 3,680lb-thrust F3-IHI-30 with the JDA for the Kawasaki f-4 trainer. Series production began in 1987. The all-new engine of the P-X maritime-patrol aircraft, and likely to find civil applications, the F7 is an entirely new turbofan engine, developed in partnership with the Japan Defence Ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), with participation by KHI and MHI. IHI emphasises that ownership of the program lies with the TRDI. Prototype engines were assembled and tested by the JDA, but production engines are made by a team led by IHI.

The basic design of the XF7 prototype engine was carried out by the TRDI, in partnership with the engine companies IHI, KHI and MHI in the late 1990s. Initially five XF7 engines were built, the first going on test in September 2002. One of this first batch of engines was quickly fitted to a Kawasaki C-1 testbed, replacing the JT8D, while the other four carried out the Preliminary Flight Rating Testing. Development was rapid, and in November 2004 the XF7-10 was selected to power the initial batch of P-X aircraft. Two more engines, configured as complete nacelles, were produced in late 2005, followed by four flight-cleared F7-10 engines in early 2006 to power the prototype P-X. Three further engines were ordered later in 2006 for qualification testing.

This all-new Japanese engine is similar in most respects to the General Electric CF34-8, in which IHI and KHI have a production share. The big difference is that the US engine has a bypass ratio in the region of 5, while that of the Japanese engine is 8. This ought to make it quite quiet and fuel efficient, and was achieved with only a modest increase in engine and nacelle diameter. On published figures, the Japanese engine is also significantly shorter.

In June 2005 Smiths Aerospace was selected to provide the stores management system for the Japanese Maritime patrol (P-X) aircraft. The contract is valued at more than $40 million for the 80 P-X aircraft replacements for the Japanese fleet of P-3s. Development and manufacturing will take place at Smiths' Michigan and Florida facilities, with production beginning in 2008. The program includes Smiths' new Universal Stores Control Unit (SCU) and will control stores for all types of new and existing fixed and rotary wing platforms without significant, if any, redesign. The stores management system provides a comprehensive system for the electronic control of integrated weapons management.

On October 13, 2006 Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. delivered the #01 test aircraft for the P-X for full-scale static testing to the Japan Defense Agency's (JDA) Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI). This test plane was transported from Kawasaki's Gifu Works over March and April 2006 to the Strength Test Center at TRDI's Air Systems Research Center in Tachikawa City, Tokyo for assembly and installation of load frames, load actuators and measuring instruments. It was now ready for the JDA to put it to the test.

In January 2006 MTS Systems Corporation announced that it was designing a $16.2 million state-of-the-art air-frame fatigue test system for Japan Defense Agency (JDA). The system, which comprises advanced MTS control technology, best-in-class software, and innovative data acquisition hardware, will enable JDA to enhance and accelerate structural fatigue testing and certification activities for its new P-X Maritime Patrol Aircraft. JDA will deploy its new system to carry out fatigue testing on a floating P-X aircraft with six degree-of-freedom positioning, and also conduct a variety of landing gear tests.

On September 28, 2007 - Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced that the #1 test XP-1 (formerly called P-X) fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft had completed a successful first flight. Capt. Akihiro Sekido, copilot Yoshinao Baba of Kawasaki's Flight Section, and nine other crew members conducted a successful hour-long flight after taking off at 9:38 a.m. from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Gifu Base. The captain commented, "From the moment we took off, I felt quite confident because operating the plane was identical to simulated operation. It demonstrated extremely high stability at a level I've never experienced before and both the flight system and the engine worked fine. It was a perfect flight and went as planned."

On August 29, 2008 Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. delivered the #1 test XP-1 fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft to the Ministry of Defense. Manufactured at Kawasaki's Gifu Works and rolled out in July 2007, the #1 test aircraft completed its first flight in September 2007 after a series of ground testing. This was followed by in-house flight and other scheduled testing before delivery to the Ministry. Currently, Kawasaki was conducting in-house flight testing for the #2 test XP-1 aircraft, scheduled for delivery to the Ministry by the end of 2008.

The XP-1 will continue flight tests and evaluation by the defence ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute and by the Japanese navy at its Atsugi air base. This process was expected to continue until the end of the 2015 fiscal year. The second XP-1 was on track for delivery by the end of October 2008 with the remaining two following by the end of the fiscal year on 31 March 2009. KHI expected the ministry to order about 70 aircraft.

Flown for the first time in September 2007, the demonstrator completed an initial 11-month phase of testing by its prime contractor, which expects to build 70 production P-1s to replace Japan's KHI/Lockheed Martin P-3C Orions. On 15 February 2010 JMOD formally informed Ayase and Yamato Cities that by late 2011, two JMSDF P-1 will be based at Atsugi JMSDF AB, Kanagawa Prefecture, to replace P-3C. From 2010, related facilities will add to Atsugi AB. Crew's simulation facility, training lecture hall in now empty area east of runway, others. In 2012, two additional P-1 will base at Atsugi AB.

Crew 3
Length 38.0m / 123.5 ft
Wingspan 35.4m / 115 ft
Height 12.1m
Takeoff Weight 79.7t
Maximum Speed 830km/h
Cruising Altitude 11,000m
Range 8,000km
Powerplant XF7-10 Turbofan (50kN/11,200lbst) x4
Armament Air to Surface Missile, Torpedo, Bomb etc.
Airframe ManufacturingKawasaki Heavy Industries
Engine ManufacturingIshikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries)




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