ASDF transport prototype tested

GIFU (Kyodo) A prototype of the Air Self-Defense Force’s next-generation transport aircraft performed its first test flight Tuesday in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture, more than two years behind schedule due to structural integrity problems.

Code-named XC2, the two-engine jet is being developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

KHI started work on the plane in 2001 as part of a ¥340 billion government project.

The project also covers costs to develop the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s next-generation antisubmarine patrol plane, which shares many parts with the XC2.

The plane is 44 meters long, or 15 meters longer than the current ASDF C-1 transport jet.

The aircraft is expected to be used on ASDF missions overseas.

The Defense Ministry had originally planned to conduct the first test flight in summer 2007.