Oct 9, 2013

Japan Navy to resume use of P-1 patrol planes

The Maritime Self-Defense Force is expected to resume operations of its P-1 maritime patrol aircraft as early as this month, as the Defense Ministry has identified the cause of trouble with the plane’s engines that caused one of the aircraft to experience engine failure midflight in May.
The ministry announced Sept. 27 that the cause of patrol aircraft’s trouble was a problem in the fuel engine injection valves. The MSDF suspended flights of the P-1 planes following the incident.
The ministry will repair five P-1 planes deployed at its bases, including Atsugi Air Base in Kanagawa Prefecture.
According to the ministry, the incident occurred on May 13 over the Pacific Ocean during a test flight. At the time, the aircraft was trying to execute a nosedive from an altitude of about 10,000 meters to confirm the stability of warning systems. However, fuel combustion in the engines became unstable and all four briefly stopped working.
The MSDF and IHI Corp., which manufactured the engines, checked the plane and found that an irregularity in the fuel injection valves prevented a sufficient supply of fuel.
Following the incident, the makers improved programs responsible for controlling the valves to increase the flow of fuel.
Currently, the P-1 planes are in test operations. The ministry aims to start full-fledged operations in fiscal 2015 mainly for warning and surveillance in the East China Sea.

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