Japan plans to outfit its Kawasaki P-1 MPAs with AI

Japan plans to outfit its Kawasaki P-1 MPAs with AI

Japan has outlined its plans to equip several Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) with artificial intelligence (AI) to increase the platform’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, media close to the Japanese Ministry of Defence’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) reported on 13 November.

According to the source, the piece of AI will help the P-1 MPAs operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF), to conduct ISR operations.

It was also reported that the ATLA is expected to apply the AI technology to radar target recognition, which uses inverse synthetic-aperture radar (ISAR) image data in the sea and synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) image data on the ground.

It was also anticipated that element of machine learning (ML) technology, which uses previously acquired data, is also set to enhance the platform’s ability to identify a vessel from images that are difficult for human analyst to determine.

Defence Insight Analysis

The Kawasaki P-1 (previously P-X, XP-1) is an MPA developed and manufactured by Kawasaki Aerospace Company.  The P-1 has entered service with the JMSDF as a replacement for the P-3C Orion. 

According to open sources, the P-1 has the distinction of being the first operational aircraft in the world to make use of a fly-by-light control system.

The P-1 is powered by four podded IHI F7-10 turbofan engines underneath the low-set wings. The four-engine low-wing loading design adopted for the P-1 results in a flight profile with better manoeuvrability and stability at low-speed, low-altitude flight and enables the aircraft to continue its mission in the event of a single engine failure and greater operational survival.

The MPA is equipped with various sensors to enable the aircraft to perform its primary purpose of detecting submarines and surface vessels; these include the Toshiba HPS-106 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which uses a total of four antennas to provide 360 degree coverage, and Infrared/Light detection systems for surface detection.

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