Having formally completed its development program in March and subsequently inducted into Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) service, the Kawasaki Heavy Industries C-2 jet-powered transport has ventured overseas for the first time, arriving in Dubai on the eve of the 2017 Dubai Airshow to make its debut international appearance.
The JASDF ultimately plans to acquire at least 40 aircraft to permit the replacement of its aging Kawasaki C-1 and Lockheed Martin C-130 transports. Currently, Kawasaki has 11 C-2s on contract to follow the two XC-2 prototypes, the first of which took to the air for its maiden flight on Jan. 26, 2010. The aircraft on show in Dubai is the first production aircraft, which was used for JASDF tests until becoming one of the first three aircraft to be handed over to an operational unit, Dai 403 Hiko-tai at Miho. The tactical airlift squadron received the trio on March 28, a day after the C-2 development program had been formally concluded, and has subsequently received a fourth. The unit is currently training in various procedures and tactics to bring the C-2 into full service.
Development of the C-2 began in late 2001 after the type had been formally selected to meet the JASDF’s C-X requirement. Kawasaki developed the transport in parallel with the P-1 maritime patroller, with several common elements and subassemblies being adopted to save costs. General Electric’s CF6-80C2K1F engine was selected as the powerplant, license-built by Ishikawajima Heavy Industries.
Internally the C-2 offers a versatile hold that can accommodate a wide range of loads, including many that cannot be admitted by other transports. The four-meter/13.1-foot width of the hold allows a large number of vehicles to be carried, while the hold is tall enough to permit the carriage of helicopters such as the UH-60 without the need for disassembly. Eight 463L pallets can be carried, including two on the rear loading ramp, while 54 passengers can be accommodated at the same time on tip-up paratroop seats along the side of the cabin. With an extra set of seats installed along the center of the cabin up to 110 people can be carried. Up to 40 litters can be installed for the medevac role.
As well as its strategic airlift capabilities, the C-2 can fly tactical missions, including the air-drop delivery of up to 20 A-22 containers, heavy loads such as vehicles and paratroops from both side doors and the rear ramp. A loadmaster station is provided from where a single person can control the cargo-handling systems.
Designed for two-pilot operation, the C-2’s flight deck is equipped with modern systems such as a wide-angle head-up display. Behind the two pilots is an auxiliary station with navigation and communications systems that can be occupied by a third crew member for long-distance flights. There are two bunks in a rest area behind the flight deck.
With a maximum payload of 79,400 pounds and 2.25-g maneuver restriction, the C-2 has a range of 2,400 nm, rising to 2,900 nm with a 2.5-g restriction and corresponding maximum payload of 70,500 pounds. Ferry range with no payload is 5,300 nm.
Following the relaxation of Japan’s export laws concerning military equipment, Kawasaki has been keen to export its P-1 patroller and now the C-2. Japanese media has reported interest in the transport from a number of countries, including New Zealand and the UAE.