Just rolled out the flying prototypes of two new military aircraft from Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the P-X maritime patrol aircraft and the C-X airlifter. First flights are due this year, with service entry in the early 2010s. Specifications released last year are about as much detail as has been given about the aircraft.
The C-X (left) is in about the same class as the Airbus A400M, but with two GE CF6-80 turbofans instead of four propellers. This makes it faster in the cruise but requires higher landing and take-off speeds and more installed thrust -- both driven by the need to keep the aircraft flying with the cockpit windows facing forward when one of the engines quits. Quoted take-off and landing distances are a not-quite-tactical 7500-7800 feet.
Neither it nor the P-X, powered by four IHI XF7 engines (right), will break the mould of Japan's military aircraft programs -- small numbers and very high unit costs -- unless the country lifts its self-imposed ban on exporting military hardware. However, that change is already being advocated by the current administration.