Kawasaki P-1 Flies At Air Tattoo

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Enthusiasts at RAF Fairford have been treated to the first flying demonstration of the Japanese Kawasaki P-1.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has arrived here at RAF Fairford in preparation for the Royal International Air Tattoo and this morning we have be treated to the first flying display rehearsal of the fascinating yet charismatic Kawasaki P-1.

All photos: Tony Osborne/Aviation Week

The two aircraft touched down at Fairford on July 14 having left Atsugi, Japan on July 10. Their journey took them via the United States including a stop at NAS Oceana, Virginia. From there, the jet made the non-stop flight across the Atlantic to the U.K..

The Kawasaki’s display was simple but effective, with a couple of low passes including one with the aircraft’s weapons bay open. The aircraft, which looks rather like a Douglas DC-8 that has been through a hot wash,  is a spritely performer, airborne in about 4-5,000 feet of runway, and a steep climb away. There were also hints of some impressive agility as the aircraft maneuvred back toward the airfield. 

The Kawasaki P-1 is easily one of the most intriguing aircraft to attend the show in the last 15 years. Despite our interconnected world, there has been really very little coverage about the development of this mysterious maritime patroller, particularly when compared to Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon or the BAe Nimrod. Here at the show, engineers are parking the P-1 next to the P-8 allowing visitors to make their own comparisons between the two submarine hunters.

Japan hopes it can export the P-1 and with Britain expected to release a potential requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft in the upcoming Strategic Defense and Security Review later this year, it is possible we could be seeing a lot more of this aircraft in the future. Look out for more detail on this aircraft in a future edition of Aviation Week.

The Air Tattoo is taking place from July 17-19.

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