Stephen Trimble at The Dew Line notes that the second Kawasaki XC-2 medium lifter flew today, and links to the YouTube video above. The second plane sported a medium gray paint job, as opposed to the first plane (below), which flew in the national colors. The XC-2 in the YouTube video is accompanied by a Kawasaki T-4 chase plane.
The XC-2 is a replacement for the C-130 and the C-1, also a Kawasaki design. Although outwardly similar to the C-1, including rough physical configuration and a two engine turbojet approach, XC-2 is a much larger plane and a vast improvement in every respect. XC-2 particularly excels at long distance hauling. The XC-2 is reportedly capable of hauling twelve tons of cargo a distance of 6,500 kilometers, more than three times the range of the C-1, and fifty percent farther than the C-130H. This puts places such as Pakistan, most of the South Pacific (including Australia) and possibly even the West Coast of the United States within range.
The XC-2 is also superior performance-wise to the Airbus A400M, particularly in terms of cruise speed, payload, and range. And, with estimates at cost put it somewhere between $80 and $120 million dollars, it will cost roughly half as much as the A400M. Due to the ban on arms sales the XC-2 is currently not available for export, but the Japanese government is looking to sell civilian versions of the aircraft on the world commercial aircraft market.
A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan.
His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch