Japan Air Self-Defense Force Kawasaki T-4 Intermediate Trainer jet
Japan Air Self-Defense Force Kawasaki T-4 Intermediate Trainer jet

Japan Air Self-Defense Force Seeks Successor for Kawasaki T-4 Intermediate Trainer jet

The Japan Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has invited companies to provide information regarding a successor for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku Jieitai) T-4 trainer jet. The Kawasaki T-4’s successor could be either domestically developed or procured from overseas. ATLA requires information on R&D and production on training aircraft and a ground-based learning system. The Kawasaki T-4 is a Japanese subsonic intermediate jet trainer aircraft developed and manufactured by the commercial conglomerate Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The Kawasaki T-4 is a Japanese subsonic intermediate jet trainer aircraft. Its sole operator is the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), in part due to historic restrictions on the exporting of military hardware. In addition to its primary training mission, the T-4 has been used by the JASDF’s Blue Impulse aerobatic team as well as liaison duties with most fighter units. The first XT-4 prototype flew on 29 July 1985, while the first production aircraft was delivered during September 1988.

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Japan Air Self-Defense Force Blue Impulse
Japan Air Self-Defense Force Blue Impulse T-4s (Photo by Japan Ministry of Defense)

It is a twin-engined aircraft, being powered by pair of Ishikawajima-Harima-built F3-IHI-30 turbofan units. These engines were indigenously-developed in conjunction with the T-4. Flight International observed that the performance of the T-4 was comparable with several widely exported jet trainers, such as Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet and British BAE Systems Hawk. While no combat-orientated model of the aircraft has been developed to date, the standard T-4 features three hard points, enabling the installation of various air-to-air missiles, bombs, and a gun pod.

The T-4 has a sturdy, damage-tolerant airframe that is largely composed of conventional aluminium alloys, although some composite materials are also present in some areas.Manufacture of the T-4 was performed by a consortium consisting of Mitsubishi, Fuji, and Kawasaki, the latter providing leadership over the venture. A final assembly line for the type was established at Kawasaki’s plant in Gifu; this line was sized to produce a maximum of two and a half aircraft per month. Originally, an eight-year production run was planned for.

Japan Air Self-Defense Force Kawasaki T-4 Intermediate Trainer jet
Japan Air Self-Defense Force Kawasaki T-4 Intermediate Trainer jet (Photo by Japan Ministry of Defense)
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