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Japan's P-1 Submarine Hunter Will Make Historic Flight in Britain

Japan's P-1 maritime patrol aircraft will become the first aircraft with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force to perform in a European airshow after Japan announced it will perform in this month's Royal International Air Tattoo in Britain.

The announcement comes as Kawasaki Heavy Industries, builder of the P-1, continues its push to find international buyers for the aircraft that compares to Boeing's P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, which is flown by the U.S. Navy.

Japan will send two P-1s to Britain with one on display and the other performing in the airshow. It's notable that the Japanese chose a British air show to debut its submarine hunter.

Britain was one of the first countries to show interest in the P-1 after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to reverse previous self-imposed Japanese defense export restrictions and allowed domestic manufacturers like Kawasaki to find foreign partners.

The British have had to depend on foreign navies and air forces to patrol for submarines since they retired the Nimrod and canceled the BAE Systems effort to replace it due to cost overruns.

Kawasaki did not bring any aircraft to the Paris Air Show last month, but it did receive quite a bit of attention at the show from countries interested in boosting their maritime patrol capabilities.

Kawasaki built the P-1 to replace the P-3 in the Japanese fleet. Lockheed Martin built the P-3, which is being replaced by the U.S. Navy by Boeing's P-8.

The four-jet P-1 has a maximum range around 4,300 nautical miles and has four hard points that allows it to carry missiles, torpedoes, mines and depth charges.

-- Michael Hoffman can be reached at Mike.Hoffman@military.com

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