Kawasaki C-1

The Kawasaki C-1 is a twin-engined short-range STOL military transport, used by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Development on

it began in 1966 as the JASDF sought to replace its aging, World War II–era C-46 Commandos, production in 1971, and it remains in use



In 1966, the JASDF transport fleet was composed primarily of Curtiss C-46 Commandos, a retired midwar American design built in large numbers

before the end of World War II. While relatively capable for its time, the C-46 did not fare well in comparison to newer aircraft such as the

Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and the JASDF therefore elected to replace it with a domestically-designed and -

manufactured transport aircraft.

For this purpose, they turned to the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Company, a consortium of several major corporations, which had begun

to produce commercially its YS-11 airliner four years earlier. NAMC decided that Kawasaki Heavy Industries was to be the prime contractor,

and the airplane thus bears that company's name. Fully developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Japanese design, this aircraft has been used as

military transport for the Japan Self Defense Forces since its maiden flight in November of 1970.

Japanese policies at the time on military equipment were strict in that they were not to have offensive capabilities, and so the maximum range was

cut in order to keep the aircraft's operational range inside Japan. This proved to be a problem after Okinawa was returned to Japan from the US,

and the aircraft had trouble reaching the island from distant areas. Thus production was terminated and the C-130 was introduced.

Operational history

The first of two flying prototypes flown on November 12, 1970, and second on a January 16, 1971. First of two pre-production examples delivered in 1973. The Kawasaki C-1 has been in use since 1974. C-1 aircraft are operated by Dai 2 Yuso-Koku-tai (Dai 402 Hiko-Tai) based at Iruma AB and Dai 3 Yuso-Koku-tai (Dai 402 Hiko-Tai) based at Miho AB. These units being under the command of the 1st Tactical Airlift Group. An aircraft yet to be presented is to replace the service of the C-1 by 2010 to provide a new range

of military transport services for the Japan Self Defense Forces.


  • XC-1: Prototypes.
  • C-1/C-1A: Medium-range military transport version.

:The last five C-1s ordered were fitted with an additional 1,250 gallon (4,730 liter) fuel tank.

  • EC-1: Converted from a standard C-1 transport the JASDF operates a single EC-1 (Ser 78-1020) electronic intelligence version with the Denshisen Shientai (electronic countermeasures squadron) based at Iruma air base. The aircraft has the nickname ‘Platypus’ because of the shape of the modified nose section.
  • C-1FTB: Flight test bed used for testing various equipment.
  • Asuka: Experimental STOL transport aircraft, powered by four turbofan engines and making use of the Coandă effect.

:The only example built is currently on display in Kakamigahara Museum in Gifu, Japan.

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