SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
It might have raised few eyebrows in Bejing when outgoing Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley along with Senior Indian Naval officials also accompanied by DRDO Chief was given a guided tour of Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces Kawasaki’s P-1 maritime patrol aircraft developed indigenously by Japan as a replacement for its fleet of Lockheed P-3 Orions.
P-1 maritime patrol aircraft will make its India debut as part of 2018 edition of Malabar exercise in India which has been confirmed by media reports and it is expected that a full-scale demonstration of the aircraft’s capabilities will be showcased to Indian Ministry and Naval officers.
Kawasaki’s P-1 maritime patrol aircraft took center stage at the Paris Air Show earlier this year confirming earlier media reports that Japan has cleared the aircraft for export and the aircraft thus has been promoted at various major international trade show off lately. Japan relaxed its decades-old rules on the export of defense equipment back in 2014, and since then the Kawasaki has generated considerable interest in its P-1 aircraft at visiting Airshows but it is yet to find an International export order.
Japan already has inducted 11 Kawasaki’s P-1 and plans to induct 50 more aircraft in its fleet. P-1 is widely used in the Sea of Japan on anti-submarine patrols and Japan has promised to keep investing in improving the aircraft’s acoustics systems to keep them technically advance to detect new breed of Chinese submarines in future.
Kawasaki’s P-1 is a clean-sheet design specifically configured for the long-range multi-role maritime patrol mission set and features four turbofan engines. Kawasaki P-1 also features a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) boom on its tail, a feature that was dropped from the U.S. Navy’s P-8 equipment list due to cost and integration issues.
Due to aircraft’s clean-sheet design unlike India’s P-8I which is based on Civilian aircraft, Kawasaki was able to make it much more unique in systems in the jet that helps it with primary missions. Toshiba’s HPS-106 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system is primarily Radar in the aircraft which gives constant 360-degree coverage.
P-1 can carry American AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles as well as various bombs, mines, torpedoes and depth charges. American P-8 ($250M) which has also has been procured by India is an expensive alternative to P-1 ($150M ) yet P-1 offers extra capability but it is unclear if Indian Navy will be interested in acquiring another type and is happy with performances of American P-8I and might order lighter version to replace its ageing fleet of IL-38 aircraft fleet procured from the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago .