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Japan makes Air Tattoo History

RIAT 2015

The Royal International Air Tattoo 2015 will witness a British airshow ‘first’ when the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) displays two examples of its Kawasaki P-1 four-jet maritime patrol aircraft — one in the static park and the other in the flying programme.

Not only will this be the UK debut of the P-1, but the type’s appearance at RIAT 2015 is set to mark the first time any Japanese military aircraft has ever taken part in a European flying display. It will also be the public debut on these shores of any JMSDF asset.

The P-1 is another demonstration of the advanced capabilities of Japan’s aviation industry. It was developed to replace the Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrol platforms operated by the JMSDF, and a maiden flight of the XP-1 prototype was completed at Gifu Air Base in September 2007. Service entry of the production P-1 model commenced during 2013.

Given the size of Japan’s territorial waters and the number of islands under its jurisdiction, long-range maritime patrol in defence of the country’s interests is a very important role. The P-1 has a maximum range somewhere in the region of approximately 8,000kms or 4,300 nautical miles and is equipped with advanced Toshiba HPS-106 active electronically-scanned array maritime search radar for its primary mission. Weapons are carried on underwing and wing root-mounted hardpoints and in a capacious weapons bay, those employed by the P-1 including the AGM-84 Harpoon missile, AGM-65 Maverick missile, torpedoes, mines and depth charges.

The type’s engines are four IHI F7-10 turbofans — also made in Japan, and developed for the P-1 — of approx 13,000lb thrust each. A major innovation is the use of fly-by-light controls, this being the first operational aircraft in the world so fitted. On board for a typical sortie are three flight crew and eight mission system operators.

“The appearance at RIAT 2015 of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force with two P-1s looks set to be another milestone in the Air Tattoo’s history”
, said the airshow’s Chief Executive Andy Armstrong. “The event has fostered close links with the Japanese military over recent years, as evidenced by two appearances of Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Boeing KC-767 tanker/transports. Now, we look forward to welcoming the JMSDF for the first time, and to seeing its impressive P-1 in the air. I know this will be a major highlight of the whole 2015 season.”

Explore Gloucestershire
7 July 2015

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