Designed from the start as a dedicated maritime patrol aircraft, Kawasaki’s P-1 boasts longer range than the Boeing P-8, has more weapons hardpoints, more operators and features a tail-mounted magnetic anomaly detector. Marcin Przeworski investigates.
In the early 1970s, the Japanese government ordered local aircraft companies to begin work on a new, large maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to replace the Lockheed P-2J Neptune produced under licence by Kawasaki. Under the LP-X (Large Patrol – Experimental) programme, it was planned to create a four-engine, long-range jet capable of patrolling vast areas and tackling enemy warships and submarines. However, efforts were thwarted by US government pressure, and Tokyo ditched the programme and instead began licence manufacture of the Lockheed P-3C Orion.