TOKYO, -- The JASDF planned the C-2 would be deployed in 2014. However, as with the case of the Airbus A400M Atlas, Japan found it was not easy to develop a new tactical cargo aircraft. Weak rivets, cracks and deformation of the airframe were found when the prototype’s static strength was examined in 2007.
Furthermore, a cargo hatch dropped off due to rising air pressure in the fuselage in 2014. Consequently, the platform’s development schedule was delayed around two years to solve these problems.
Now with formal acceptance of the C-2, three examples will be produced this year.
The C-2 is powered by twin turbofans that generate 27.9t of thrust, with turbofan engines unusual for a tactical transport aircraft. Its cruising range reaches 6,500km with 12t of cargo. Thus, it can fly to Hawaii or India without refuelling.
The JASDF expects the C-2 will contribute to the defence of its vulnerable southwestern islands, and to overseas missions. The C-2’s maximum payload is 30t, and it can accommodate a Thales Bushmaster 4x4 armoured vehicle or a UH-60 helicopter.
The JASDF is currently using 25 Kawasaki C-1 and 16 Lockheed Martin C-130H transport aircraft. Since the C-1 has been in service since 1973, this ageing platform needed to be replaced. The JASDF also required a new aircraft with higher payload and longer cruising range to enable the JASDF to operate overseas.
As a result of these needs, initial development of the C-2 began in 2000. Additionally, the Ministry of Defence decided to develop the C-2 and the P-1 maritime patrol aircraft for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) simultaneously to reduce costs and shorten development time. Both share the same cockpit design and horizontal tail structure.
Kawasaki will manufacture around 30 C-2s for the JASDF in the future.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Kawasaki C-2 twin-turbofan engine, long range, high speed military transport aircraft 2nd prototype in 2015.