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Kawasaki T-4

Subsonic Intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft [ 1988 ]

The Kawasaki T-4 intermediate jet trainer was introduced in 1988 and went on to see over 200 examples produced for the JASDF.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/25/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Requiring a modern successor to its aging line of Lockheed T-33 intermediate jet trainers, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) commissioned Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to design, develop and manufacture a new local solution. The work spawned the Kawasaki "T-4" of which four prototypes were built to the "XT-4" design standard and a first-flight was recorded on July 29th, 1985. Since then, some 208 examples have been delivered to the JASDF, Japan being the only operator of this aircraft series. Service entry was had in 1988.

As an intermediate jet trainer, the T-4 is intended as a bridge product for airmen cadets transitioning from basic turboprop trainers to full-fledged jet-powered combat warplanes. As such, the T-4 sports jet powerplants and exhibits high-performance capabilities. Composites are used in its construction to keep weight levels down yet retain a robustness the aircraft needs in performing combat-like maneuvers.

Such is the quality and capability of the design that it is featured as the mount-of-choice for the "Blue Impulse" aerobatics team of Japan. The team graduated to the T-4 from the earlier T-2 jets. Prior to that, the group relied on the North American F-86 Sabre jets (F-models).

The aircraft seats its crew of two, student and instructor, in tandem under a single-piece, lightly framed canopy set ahead of midships. There is an elongated nosecone assembly ahead of the crew and the fuselage tapers to the rear in the typical way. A single vertical tailfin in featured and a pair of horizontal planes complete the empennage. A retractable tricycle undercarriage allows for ground running. The wing mainplanes are mid-mounted along the sides of the fuselage and have underwing hardpoints while being plumbed for fuel delivery. The mainplanes are also swept back for aerodynamic efficiency at high speed.

Dimensions include a length of 42.7 feet, a wingspan of 32.6 feet and a height of 15 feet. Empty weight is 8,360lb against an MTOW of 16,530lb.

Power is served through 2 x Ishikawajima-Harima F3-IHI-30 series turbofan engines developing 3,520lb of thrust each unit. These are aspirated through rounded-rectangle intakes seated to either side of the cockpit and exhaust through ports at the rear-underside of the aircraft. Performance specs include a maximum speed of 645 miles per hour and a range out to 1,035 miles.

Kawasaki markets the T-4 under the strengths of stability and maneuverability - hallmarks of excellent jet trainers.

Despite its Cold War-era roots, the T-4 continues to serve the JASDF service branch today (2017).©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Japan national flag graphic

In Active Service.


National flag of modern Japan Japan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Training (General)
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).

42.7 ft
(13.00 m)
32.6 ft
(9.95 m)
14.8 ft
(4.50 m)
Empty Wgt
8,356 lb
(3,790 kg)
16,535 lb
(7,500 kg)
Wgt Diff
+8,179 lb
(+3,710 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Kawasaki T-4 production variant)
Installed: 2 x Ishikawajima-Harima F3-IHI-30 turbofan engines developing 3,520 lb of thrust each.
Max Speed
646 mph
(1,040 kph | 562 kts)
1,038 mi
(1,670 km | 3,093 nm)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Kawasaki T-4 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
2 x External hardpoints for carrying conventional drop bombs, rocket pods, or fuel tanks for training purposes.

Supported Types

Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft external fuel tank

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2

XT-4 - Prototype Designation; four examples completed.
T-4 Base Series Designation; primary production model of which 208 have been produced.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Kawasaki T-4
Image released to the Public Domain through the US DoD DVIDS imagery database.

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