Footage Of Japan’s New Kawasaki C-2 ELINT Variant Operating From Iruma Air Base Emerges

New footage shows the intelligence gathering aircraft at Iruma Air Base.

Footage and photographs have emerged of the Japanese Kawasaki C-2 Electronic Intelligence variant (also dubbed “RC-2”) operating at Iruma Air Base, north of western Tokyo, Japan.

The aircraft, a heavily modified baseline C-2 tactical transport aircraft with a modified nose section and large fairings top of the tail, fuselage and sides of it, as well as several antennas underneath the fuselage, is serialled 18-1202 and was first spotted undergoing taxi tests and first flights at Japan Air Self-Defense Force base at Gifu, home of JASDF’s Air Development and Test Command and Kawasaki Heavy Industries facility, at the beginning of February 2018. The C-2 ELINT is going to replace the obsolete JASDF’s YS-11EB ELINT aircraft.

All the enlarged fairings on the C-2 ELINT testbed 18-1202. Not visible in this screenshot are the antennas located underneath the fuselage. (Modified screenshot from video below).

Interestingly, on Jun. 26, the “RC-2” visited Iruma, where the NAMC YS-11EB of the Electronic Intelligence Squadron are based:

The following video shows the C-2 ELINT taxiing and taking off from Iruma Air Base:

Little is known about the intelligence gathering variant of the C-2: considered that it will be an ELINT/COMINT (Electronic Intelligence/Communication Intelligence) platform, it’s safe to assume will be equipped with sensors and antennas required to collect signals from distance, process the data to classify and geo-locate it and then store or share the information to other aerial, naval or ground assets. More or less what other modern (or ageingspyplanes do.

The NAMC YS-11EB is the aircraft the C-2 ELINT will replace. (Credit: Toshi Aoki – JP Spotters)

Noteworthy, the first trip to Iruma made the C-2 ELINT aircraft trackable by means of ADS-B/Mode-S transponder. The track collected by our friend @CivMilAir shows the aircraft arriving from Gifu to Iruma on Jun. 26:

The part of track showing the C-2 ELINT on its way to Iruma Air Base. (Credit: @CivMilAir)

Top image: screenshot from @amuro1415 video on Twitter.

About David Cenciotti 3733 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.