Japanese self-defense fleet has acquired five new ‘submarine hunters’
TOKYO, (BM) – As an island nation, Japan seeks to protect its maritime border by developing and renewing its naval self-defense forces. BulgarianMilitary.com learned through a post on the official Twitter account of the Japanese Navy that the Land of the Rising Sun has not one, but five brand new Japanese-made submarine-hunting aircraft.
It is an air Kawasaki P-1 developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Currently, all five new submarine-hunting aircraft are located at the Japanese air base Atsugi.
Unlike many other submarine-hunting aircraft around the world, the Japanese Kawasaki P-1 was developed solely for the purpose for which it is supposed to be used and has no civilian counterpart to this aircraft. The Japanese manufacturer notes in a statement that the P-1 is the real successor to the obsolete P-3C, which is also a type of patrol and reconnaissance aircraft designed to monitor and explore the seas surrounding Japan.
Sources from the Ministry of Defense of Japan say that the new P-1 differs radically from the obsolete P-3C in various characteristics, such as greater operating range, faster flight speed and, accordingly, higher payload, such as all this is combined with the latest technologies in the field of modern military software avionics. All this, according to a number of military experts, will allow the Japanese naval defense forces to carry out even more detailed and longer monitoring of the surrounding seas.
The main purpose of the aircraft, however, is to detect enemy submarines at sea, so the P-1 has the latest technology sensors and radar systems, noting that the radar mounted on the aircraft is of the AESA type, developed by the Japanese company Toshiba. This radar, according to experts, will allow both pilots and ground control 360-degree coverage and infrared scanning.
Regarding the armament of the new submarine-hunting aircraft, the P-1 is armed with various types of torpedoes, depth charges and mines, as well as air-to-surface missiles and other types of bombs. The interesting thing in this case is that the weapon system was developed by the company Smith Aerospace, which system allows simultaneous control and use of different types of ammunition, mounted and loaded on universal large-caliber cartridges. Also, the aircraft is equipped with additional anti-missile radars to ensure the safety of the aircraft in the event of an attack from both the air and the ground.
Mitsubishi was chosen to make the next generation Japanese fighter jet
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been designated as the prime contractor for the Japanese F-X’s next-generation fighter program, the Japanese Defense Ministry said on October 31.
Read more: Japan joins hypersonic weapons race
This information is not a big surprise. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries [MHI] is the most experienced and, in fact, the only supersonic fighter aircraft builder in Japan, and manufactured the Japanese Mitsubishi F-1 combat trainer and currently used Mitsubishi F-2 based on the F-16C. The company also runs the Japanese F-35 final assembly line.
At the same time, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi announced that Japan would now be looking for an “overseas” partner to provide some technical solutions, in particular pointing to stealth technology. This partner is to be selected by the end of this year and it can be speculated that, due to the current experiences of individual companies in this regard, Lockheed Martin will be chosen as the winner.
The first funds for research and development should soon be transferred to MHI. For 2021, the Japanese Ministry of Defense is forecasting $ 555.8 million plus $ 113.6 million for armament work for the new machine. Considering the funds allocated to similar work in the Tempest or FCAS / SKAF programs, these are large funds, provided, of course, that they are approved by the parliament.
Despite the high technical advancement and strong economy in the field of building a modern combat aircraft, the Japanese industry will have a lot to catch up on and will have to develop a modern engine (here the work will be continued by IHI Corporation), AESA-class radar and develop stealth technologies.
However, some work has already been carried out and some experience has been gained. We are talking about the ATD-X demonstrator, which in the years 2016-2018 performed a series of air tests, igniting the imagination of commentators and being exaggeratedly referred to as the prototype of the “Mitsubishi F-3” fighter. After revealing the silhouette of the planned fighter this year and changing its concept, it turned out that it will look completely different and that it will not be “something between the F-35 and F-22”, but rather an airplane resembling the more forgotten Northrop YF demonstrator 23, larger than the Raptor and with a huge range.
Currently, the Japanese fighter’s program assumes the following cut-off dates: airframe and engine design work should start by the end of March, construction of the first prototype is to begin in 2024, and in 2028, its flight tests are to begin. So they will start in parallel with the launch of the Korean Boramae fighter. Meanwhile, the entry to the line of the Japanese aircraft should take place in 2035.
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