January 10, 2017

Japan selling its P-1 and C-2 military aircraft to NZ at low prices?

As Japan is new to being an actual seller of military aircraft early success may be elusive. However the desire to seal a deal with New Zealand may mean Japan will offer the P-1 (above) and C-2 (below) at very attractive low prices.


The Japanese military (Japanese Self Defence Force (JSDF)) seem enthusiastic about selling the C-2 military transport aircraft and P-1 maritime patrol aircraft to foreign buyers.

In October 2016 the Japanese military invited staff officers from 10 countries (USA, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia [but not New Zealand?]) to presentations on the C-2. See this Sankei News article  [in Japanese] which indicates the surprisingly large size of the C-2 that the staff officers (in the photo) are viewing. The C-2 is parked at Iruma Air Base, Japan.

Jon Grevatt, for IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, reports from Bangkok, 6 January 2017:
“Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) is offering its P-1 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and C-2 transport aircraft to New Zealand...The company, in collaboration with the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD), has provided information to New Zealand in a bid to meet a requirement in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) to replace its Lockheed Martin P-3K2 Orion MPA and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which have both been in service since the mid-1960s.

Japan's Nikkei financial newspaper had earlier reported that the Japanese MoD has already responded to New Zealand's request for information (RFI) about both requirements and that following talks it is expected to offer concrete proposals in the first half of 2017..." For whole Jane’s article see.


I think New Zealand (NZ) plays it safe and traditional in its military hardware buying patterns. This will work against Japan's:

P-1 MPAs.  Instead, I think NZ buying 4 x P-8 Poseidon MPAs is more likely. The need is to  replace NZ's 6 x P-3K2 Orions. This is noting NZ's main ally, Australia, is buying the P-8. Although NZ has requested information on the P-1 MPA (and indeed C-2) doubts may exist that Japan can efficiently share the information to support the training, maintenance, avionics and sensor suites required, and

C-2 transport aircraftI think NZ purchase of  5 x C-130J Super Hercules is more likely. The need is to replace NZ’s 5 older model C-130Hs. Again NZ’s main ally, Australia, is already operating the C-130J. The ability to operate from relatively short, rough airfields on small Pacific Islands (in NZ’s region) may put the C-2 at a disadvantage compared to the C-130J. For distant overseas operations, often shared with Australia, NZ may rely on Australia's C-17s. Or NZ might short-term lease cargo aircraft (for example).

Other weaknesses of the C-2 are that very few have been built (4? see right sidebar) and they have only been operated in Japan’s airforce since March 2016.

However Japan-Kawasaki may be very hungry to sell its first military aircraft to a prime Asia-Pacific customer. So Japan-Kawasaki may provide both aircraft at very low upfront and support prices.

Apologies for seeing New Zealand's needs through such an Australian lens. For more on New Zealand's defence environment see New Zealand's Defence White Paper 2016.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Your opinion is persuasive.


Josh said...

The Japanese are pretty desperate to sell *something* in the arms realm since their laws were changed to allow such sales. So far there have been no takers. They are probably willing to sell at a loss to get that ball rolling. That said I agree with Pete that the final purchases will likely be US - its much more practical to have commonality of training and parts with other allies, particularly ones that speak the same language (literally). But any Japanese offer will be used as leverage on the pricing of US systems.


Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
I think for NZ, they should look at the P-1 MPA because the P-8 MPA would be too much for them. As for Transport, I think the C-130J & A-400M would serve them well for Tactical and Strategic tanker transport. As for Pocket fighters, I can see the M-346 Master, F/A-50 Golden Eagle or the BAE Hawk 200 for Basic Air defense and Air defense patrols

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,

competition is always good for taxpayers. The US Air Force tanker competition did reduce the price for next US tanker extremely.

The C-130 has a mayor design drawback: maximum cargo height is just 2.74 m.
Most new freighters have far more height.
A400M: 4 m
C-2: at least 2.9 m (Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle or even higher to carry Mitsubishi H-60)

New Zealands LAV III won't fit without mayor modifications inside a C-130.

In my opinion the P-1 is ahead of the P-8 and others fare more options. I also have the feeling that the Japanese electronic devices might be better.

The risks are lost in translation;-)

Suitable cargo aircraft are C-2, KC-390 or A400M.
The C-130 is to small for normal operations today. German Air Force thinks about several C-130 for special ops because their normal equipment has to fit inside a CH-53.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

P-8 based on 737 is maritime patrol aircraft at high-altitude, and combined operation with RQ-4 (Gloval Hawk) is better than standalone operation. P-1 is for standalone operation at low & middle altitude.


Ztev Konrad said...

Both the japanese aircraft fit NZs requirements very neatly. The P-1 which was a recent visitor to NZ during the navys 75th birthday celebrations would have impressed the local brass
I seem to recall the P-1 price was always favourable compared to the very expensive P-8, but home country costs are normally much lower than the fully equipped with spares and training that overseas buyers need to pay.
As for the transport plane, a major requirement isnt so much small pacific atolls but the support mission to Antarctica. The limiting requirement now seems to be the ability to return to NZ if the weather makes a landing impossible. One or two scary situations with the B-757 has shown that is now essential. Various newspaper articles suggest the Brazilians are pushing their KC390 which is much closer to NZs requiremnt ( Hercules sized but jet powered for long haul flights)

Anonymous said...

A chinese Yuan SSN makes recently a port call to Malaysia. China's South Sea Fleet has ~20 SSNs. Following the 1MDB debacle, Malaysia PM is inching towards as well towards PRC. So far China's strategy of dividing and conquer is splitting up ASEAN.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with the assessment although with NZ sponsoring recently that UN resolution against Israeli settlements, things may be working in Japan's favor. That plus the strengthening US dollar. Overall I say the P1 stands a better chance than the C-2. In regards to C-130 replacement, NZ may just want to delay and look at the Embraer KC-390 which Boeing will be marketing internationally. The Super Hercules will get squeezed between Airbus A400M and the KC-390

Anonymous said...

You may have seen this news.

Rise of the machines is clearly in our "scary" future. Coming in 2017 will be the start of a potentially deadly gamesmanship in Asia between China and the US. The Washington Post has an editorial on it.


MHalblaub said...

Dear folks,
there is a nice chart on German A400M wiki with a comparison of nearly all available (and unavailable e.g. AN-70) military transport aircraft.

There are some points to pay attention to: range is always related to payload.

KC-390 range of 6,200 km in the chart is without payload. The cruise speed is rather slow in this overview. I would guess about Mach 0.78 (~ 850 km/h) due to max speed of Mach 0.80. Max cargo height aft wing is 3.2 m.
Here are some ranges from the official web site (http://www.embraerds.com/kc-390.html)

KC-390 payload / range
26 t: 1,140 nm
23 t: 1,520 nm
14 t: 2,730 nm
0 t: 3,310 nm
aux tanks: 4,600 nm
So fuel burn is about 11 t / 1,000 nm.

A400M payload / range
37 t: 1,780 nm
30 t: 2,450 nm
20 t: 3,450 nm
0 t: 4,700 nm
aux tanks: not available
So fuel burn is about 12,5 t / 1,000 nm.
Cargo height aft the wing is 4.0 m and New Zealands NH90 would fit in.

4,100 nm w/ 20t, 3,070 nm w/ 30t, 2,430 nm w/ 36t

C-2 payload / range
36 t: 2,430 nm
30 t: 3,070 nm
20 t: 4,100 nm
0 t: not availabel
aux tanks: not available
So fuel burn is about 9.5 t / 1,000 nm
Due to specifications to carry an Mitsubishi H-60 helicopter cargo height should be equivalent to A400M with about 4 m.

Due to the significant lower fuel burn compared to KC-390 and A400M with about the same MTOW I doubt these numbers.

Also due to that numbers for a B757-200PF at 120 t MTOW.
Fuel burn is about 8.5 t / 1,000 nm
And that is a slim aircraft with a wing optimized for long range flights and not for short field performance. 20 t extra MTOW come also not for free...

So for New Zealand I would narrow the competition down to C-2 and A400M.
C-130 and KC-390 have a to low cargo height for far to many equipment.(see following picture).


Anonymous said...

NZ media have been carrying reports that cast doubt on the reported negotiations
"But a Defence Force spokesman said it had not received such a visit and it was "not involved in any negotiations with the Japanese Government or Kawasaki Heavy Industries". He also indicated there would be no decision on replacement aircraft this year."

Too much is made of the 'low cargo cabin hieght'. While helicopters would need to be carried NZ doesnt do rapid reaction force so that heavy army equipment such as LAV etc isnt needed to be carried. They have a navy Roro ship for the heavier fleet. The usual loads would be relief supplies and medical equipment, and other more military resupply.

Ztev Konrad said...

Some of those numbers from wikipedia.de dont match with the users own discription of capabilities
eg C130J and C130J-30 from USAF factfile
C-130J, 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
C-130J-30, 44,000 (19,958 kilograms)
C-130J, 34,000 pounds (15,422 kilograms) normal payload max range at this weight 2,071 miles (1,800 nautical miles)
and the RAF A400M
The aircraft will be capable of carrying a load of 25 tonnes over a range of 2000nmls at speeds comparable with pure-jet military transports

Peter Coates said...

Hi All

So many comments. Its great :) Unfortunately I cannot respond to all, but will address some issues:

A. There may be an essential requirement for NZ's Transport aircraft to have the safe range to fly from Christchurch (NZ) to NZ's Scott (Antarctic) Base https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Base and Back unrefueled.

Looking at http://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/scott-base/travelling-to-antarctica/ it seems that NZ is relying on USAF C-17s. In terms of a NZ Transport's distance: "Distance from Christchurch to Scott Base is 3,832 kms [2,070 nm]...from 4.5 to 10 hours depending on the aircraft type and weather conditions"

So a range of at least 8,000 km and probably 9,000 km or more (headwinds, circling times, need to fly to alternate airports/ice landing zones) might be necessary.

The C-2 has a sufficient "Ferry range: 9,800 km (5,300 nm)" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawasaki_C-2#Specifications_.28C-2.29 but this might be with no cargo.

A highly modified older HC-130 has a range of 8,334 km (4,500 nm) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_HC-130#Specifications_.28HC-130H.29 ) which is not far enough.

No more C-17s, that do have a sufficient 10,390 km (5,610 nm) range, are being built. Maybe NZ can buy second hand from an existing operator https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_C-17_Globemaster_III#Operators .

Or perhaps NZ can rely on US and Australian C-17s until the C-2 is fully mature (noting its only operated since March 2016). There will be fewer technical and contractural risks for NZ once any "bugs" with the C-2 have been eradicated and Japanese-foreign military sales procedures have been worked out.

Interestingly the US P-8 (at Max. takeoff weight: 85,820 kg is only marginally heavier than the P-1 Max. takeoff weight: 79,700 kg

However a big difference may be sunk development costs divided among airframes produced (ie. economies of scale). This may heavily favour the P-8 on overall whole of life (purchase-maintenance-spare parts) costs.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

JSDF are enthusiastic to sell C2 and P-1. Last October JSDF invited staff officer of 10 countries (USA, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia) to introduce C-2 [1].

C-2 business reported by Nikkei Shinbun is not clear. Today, PM Abe started to visit the Philippines, Australia and ASEAN. Judging from behavior patterns of PM Abe, if there is C-2 business beween Japan and NZ, he will meet PM Bill English to sell C-2 and P-1.

By the way, it was reveled yesterday that PLA had interefered more than once patrol activities by Australian aircraft in the South China Sea. A defense meeting of Japan, Australia and USA officials was held in mid December last year. Australian officials explained the situation, and stressed the need to strengthen defense cooperation among the three countries and the necessity of collaboration with ASEAN including Thailand and the Philippines [2].

[1] http://www.sankei.com/politics/photos/161013/plt1610130028-p5.html
[2] http://www.sankei.com/politics/news/170112/plt1701120006-n1.html


MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,

here some facts about the C-17.
US AF estimates the fuel burn rate 21,440 lb/hour.
Maximum Take Off Weight: 585,000 lb
Empty weight: 282,500 lb
Difference: 302,500 lb

Fuel capacity: 134,556 l at 0.8 kg/l or 1.75 lb/l.
or fuel weight: 237,100 lb

cruise speed about 450 kn.
so about 11 hours is max unrefueled flying time.

So Christchurch to Scott Base and return is about 4,150 nm.
So about 9.5 hours flying time.
Fuelburn is therefore 203.680 lb

With some reserves the fuel tanks are fuel.
Payload is about 30 t.

C-2 and A400M might be capable to carry 10 t over that distance. The C-17 is the best option for this route. To move 30 t the other aircraft would born far more fuel. NZ should therefore not link the next cargo aircraft to this route.

Ztev Konrad said...

the least expensive way to solve the Scot base supply flight problem is install landing equipment at the airfield and on the plane for 0/0 landings or CAT IIIC. yes extra training is required but its not difficult ( ie the pilots can practice in fine weather by only relying on instruments)

Ztev Konrad said...

NZ may want to forgo the very expensive replacement of the high end MMA such as P-8 or P-1 and go for something like what Boeing is also offering the MSA, with many of the P-8 censors but packed in a Bombardier Challenger 605 airframe

I understand it could be about 1/3 the price of the P-8 and carries 2 pilots and 3-5 mission crew. The reality is that their arent many submarines in the Southern hemisphere to track and paying 2/3 the price for that capability is something to think long and hard about. Of course the so called "P-9" without a reasonable number of buyers is a non starter

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev (at 14/1/17 9:56 AM)

I understand the US has been landing C-130s at the US Amundsen-Scott base [1] for several years. Assuming the US C-130s operate out of Christchurch NZ I assume the US uses Antarctica refueling of the type you're referring to.

It will be interesting if NZ is transparent about any refueling intentions for NZ's (different) "Scott" Base [2] as English speaking Antartica are a tight symbiotic community. Symbiotic in terms of C-130s stll needing to divert to other Antarctic landing grounds if their ground of first preference has developed a crosswind/blizzard that prevents landing.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amundsen%E2%80%93Scott_South_Pole_Station

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Base



Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev (14/1/17 10:08 AM)

Thanks for interesting info.I hardly considered smaller jet MPA solutions. If a smaller MPA solution maintains adequate range/speed, sonobuoy carrying/dropping, LW torpedo and Harpoon missile capability, sufficient electrical generation to run sensors, anti-missile measures for over ground missions, then there is much more potential competition in smaller jets. With perhaps several European countries, Brazil, Israel etc building.

For the wide waters of the South Pacific range may be a No.1 requirement for NZ. Range calculation are an artform that Boeing and Kawasaki and their DoDs will need to tailor make for what NZ wants included and how fast NZ's MPAs "want" to go.

Funnily enough I talked to a techo some years ago who described NZ P-3 efforts, immediately after the Rainbow Warrior bombing, to find the French Rubis SSN that NZ knew or guessed was going to pickup some of the French agents. Techno said the P-3 crews worked round the clock - getting no sleep.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior#France_implicated
"Three other agents...were then picked up by the French submarine Rubis, which scuttled the Ouvéa.[6]"



Ztev Konrad said...

Thanks Pete. while all the details of Boeings MSA arent available, it seem that weight and space restrictions rule out an sonobouy or torpedo carriage or any other offensive weapons. This would keep it strictly as a surveillance asset which would be used in support of surface vessels if a shooting war ( unlikely) broke out. The irony is that this is exactly the sort of type that is required for current operations in the SCS. The P-8/P-3 is over equipped for this sort of role and in some ways sending a P-3 once every 2-3 weeks doesnt give much return when you can send a
"P-9" every second day for the same effort. Its unlikely Australia will buy another type of patrol asset at this level of capability but would be a very good niche for NZ and some other countries in the area to be in.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev [at 15/1/17 9:17 AM]

Extracting from NZ MoD's document "Future Air Surveillance Capability" 2016/current http://www.defence.govt.nz/what-we-do/delivering-defence-capability/defence-capability-projects/future-air-surveillance-capability/ throws up

"The scope of the project...founded on six P-3K2 Orion aircraft, by mid 2025 with no less than an equivalent level of capability matched to current and future needs."

When one connects this maintaining MPA capabilities with page 52 of NZ MoDs's Defence Capability Plan 2016 (about 7 MB PDF) http://www.defence.govt.nz/assets/capability/2016-Defence-Capability-Plan.pdf then maintainance of

"..able to deploy sonobuoys, torpedoes, and bombs to counter underwater threats."

seems to remain requirements for NZ's next MPAs.



Ztev Konrad said...

Pete, what NZ likes and what NZ can afford are normally quite different things. The current military has been hollowed out , with Navy surface fleet having restricted sea time. The Army continues with the familiar force structure but numbers are down and the reserve units cut back sharply as any spare funding goes to the special forces first. The future equipment program costs are quite daunting over the next 10-15 years and once real costs are finalised something will have to be less than they have been used to.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev [at 16/1/17 3:01 PM]

Yes, like Australia, NZ has much defence expenditure allocated to special forces training teams in Irag-Afghanistan. eg. http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/corporate-documents/iraq-deployment/default.htm and http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/corporate-documents/afghanistan-deployment/default.htm .

NZ is more sensible than Australia's habit of supporting some hugely inefficient local arms building (really just assembly) industries.

I don't know if NZ will be pressured to buy some new OPVs or even Future Frigates?

I suspect that NZ's use of its transport aircraft and P-3s may be extended longer than currently projected. And once NZ orders replacements I reckon there'll be fewer aircraft bought than current numbers.

I think just 4 x P-8s will be the new MPA's. Unlike European solutions NZ still needs to respond to longer range with many stores/weapons realities. Triton UAVs may be a part sensor solution.



Ztev Konrad said...

The existing RNZAF P-3Ks are of course originally delivered as P-3Bs in 1965. Its been clear for the last 50 years that their full replacement has been a major financial hurdle, which led to various overhaul options , which being cheaper, were preferred. they even got one of Raaf P-3b casteoffs to increase the fleet to 6. To my thinking the cargo option has highest priority and even there the RAF is cutting back its fleet in the next 5 years which will make a suitable number of used - but plenty of life left- C-30J available. The high end jet transport could be anyones guess but the last C-17 'whitetail' is still unsold . That operated in conjunction with RAAF for training and maintenance and a home away from home at Amberley makes most sense ( but again is a financial hurdle)