Meet Kawasaki C-2, The Biggest Japanese-Made Aircraft In History

kawasaki c-2 transport plane
Image: / Hunini

When it comes to engineering marvels, the creations get more and more impressive as their scale increases. In simpler words, the bigger, the better. Japan’s Kawasaki C-2 plane is one such exceptional product whose sheer size is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The Kawasaki C-2 is a military transport aircraft developed by Kawasaki Aerospace Company. It’s one of the biggest planes in the world and Japan’s biggest ever. Besides military missions, it plays an important role in air transport and disaster relief.

Due to its gigantic dimensions, the C-2 stands out with a striking prominence when it is airborne. Here’s a video of the Japanese juggernaut dominating the skies.

Origins of the C-2

In the ’90s, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) needed a transport aircraft with certain distinguished capabilities. The agency examined the existing options of that time, such as the U.S.’s C-17 Globemaster III, but ultimately decided that they didn’t meet the requirements. By 2001, the Japanese Defense Agency sanctioned the contract for the development of Kawasaki’s C-X aircraft, which later became the C-2.

After spending about a decade in development, the C-2 took its first flight in early 2010 and entered JASDF service in mid-2016. Being faster and more powerful than the C-1, it is seen as the latter’s direct successor. The C-2 is expected to replace the Cold War-era C-1 in the forthcoming years.

Kawasaki C-2 Specs

The giant Kawasaki plane measures 43.9m in length and weighs about 60,800kg without cargo. It is towering at 14.2m, and its wings span across a mighty 44.4m. While its maximum take-off weight is around 141,400kg, its official max payload capacity is 37,600kg, which is equivalent to carrying as many as 120 troops along with their stuff.

The C-2 draws its power from a twin-turbofan engine built by General Electric. This means it can fly 40,000ft above the ground at a max speed of 926km/h. Moreover, the plane’s travel range sits at just over 10,000km. Besides this, it can house up to 2 pilots and 1 loadmaster in the crew cabin.

kawasaki c-2 drops
Image: / Hunini

Right now, JASDF is the only major and primary user of the Kawasaki C-2. As the Japanese manufacturer looks to sell the transport plane to other nations, it has become a regular presence at air shows.

While you are here, do check out the U.S. Air Force’s famed Warthog plane and the Russian military’s jumbo helicopter that airlifts jets with ease.

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