Japan unveils new antisubmarine patrol planes
The official delivery ceremony held earlier in the day in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, heralds the beginning of the JMSDF's plans to acquire seven of the high-tech planes to be deployed by March 2014 and a total of 70 P-1s in the long-run, officials said.
The P-1s, designed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. in cooperation with the Defense Ministry, will replace the current over 80 aging P-3 Orion patrol planes used by the JMSDF.
The new planes will undergo two years of operation flight testing, before being fully deployed on patrol duties, officials said.
The P-1 development started in 2001 and planed to finish in March 2012. The process was delayed for one year due to cracks found in its wings and bodies.