The Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) recently received another Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft, Textron Aviation announced on February 25.
Equipped with a removable, belly-mounted forward-looking infrared (FLIR) installation, forward executive cabin, communications equipment and racks, the King Air joins a fleet of seven airframes already operated by the JGSDF.
After further modifications in Japan including a medical configuration, the King Air 350i will enter service as a liaison/reconnaissance (LR-2) aircraft, and will be owned and operated by the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF).
“We are honored to expand our relationship with the JGSDF. This aircraft will join a fleet of seven other LR-2 King Air 350 turboprops, which has provided reliable service for more than 20 years,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president, special mission sales for Textron Aviation.
The LR-2 is the JGSDF’s only fleet of fixed-wing aircraft. The LR-2 provides transportation between airfields throughout Japan, especially when transporting emergency patients from remote islands.
In addition to a reconnaissance camera, the new LR-2 aircraft is equipped with devices for video transmission and infrared night-vision to enhance its capacity to collect visual information.
The aircraft will be operated by the Renraku Teisatsu Hikotai, a JGSDF Communication and Reconnaissance Squadron, based at Kisarazu Airfield in the Chiba Prefecture.
“The LR-2 fleet has been serving an enduring mission by providing transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation operations in Japan,” said Gibbs. “When the JGSDF needed a modern aircraft with low direct operating costs, it again chose the Beechcraft King Air 350 platform.”
The Beechcraft King Air 350i is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A engines and features a Pro Line Fusion digital avionics suite.