Kawasaki C-1

The Kawasaki C-1 (川崎 C-1) is a twin-engined short-range military transport, used by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). Development began in 1966 as the JASDF sought to replace its aging World War II–era C-46 Commandos. Production commenced in 1971, and the aircraft remains in service as of 2011.

Kawasaki C-1
Class Aircraft
Type Transport
Manufacturer Kawasaki Aerospace Company
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1970
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1974 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Kawasaki Aerospace Company 31 View
In 1966, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force 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 Corporation, 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. The aircraft has been used as military transport for the JASDF since its maiden flight in November 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 reduced and the C-130 was introduced.


  •     XC-1: Prototypes.
  •     C-1/C-1A: Medium-range military transport version.
    The last five C-1s ordered were fitted with an additional 4,730 litre fuel tank.

  •     EC-1: EW training aircraft.
  •     C-1FTB: Flight test bed used for testing various equipment.
  •     Asuka/QSTOL: Quiet STOL research aircraft, developed by the National Aerospace Laboratory.
    Powered by four FRJ710 turbofan engines and making use of the Coanda effect. It was built to research STOL using upper surface blowing, aircraft noise reduction, fly-by-wire systems and composite materials construction. The only example built is currently on display in Kakamigahara Museum in Gifu, Japan.

The Kawasaki C-1 has been in use since 1974 but will be replaced by the Kawasaki C-2, which has a longer range. The first of twenty C-2s is expected to be delivered in 2014.

Role Military Transport
Manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries
First flight 12 November 1970
Introduction December 1974
Primary user Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Number built 31
Unit cost ¥4.8 billion

General characteristics

  • Crew: Five (pilot, copilot, navigator, flight engineer, loadmaster)
  • Capacity: 60 soldiers, 45 paratroopers, 36 patients with medics, or cargo
  • Length: 95 ft 2 in (29 m)
  • Wingspan: 100 ft 4 in (30.58)
  • Height: 32 ft 9 in (9.99 m)
  • Wing area: 1,297 ft (120.5 m)
  • Empty weight: 53,450 lb (23,320 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 85,320 lb (38,700 kg)
  • Useful load: 17,420 lb (7,900 kg)
  • Maximum load: 26,240 lb (11,900 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 99,200 lb (45,000 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Mitsubishi-built Pratt & Whitney JT8D-M-9, 14500 lbf (64.5 kN) each


  • Maximum speed: 501 mph (806 km/h) at 25,000 feet at 35,450 kg AUW
  • Cruise speed: 408 mph (657 km/h) at 35,000 feet at 35,450 kg AUW
  • Range: 806 mi (1,300 km)
  • Service ceiling 38,000 ft (11,600 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,500 ft/min (17.8 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 76.48 lb/ft (373.8 kg/m) (max)

End notes