Japan receives first evolved King Air 350 special mission aircraft

Japan receives King Air 350i
Japan Ground Self Defense Force King Air 350i special mission aircraft.

Feb. 25, 2021 – Textron Aviation announced today it recently delivered a Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft equipped with multiple special mission modifications to Japcon Incorporated. The modifications include a removable, belly-mounted Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) installation, forward executive cabin, communications equipment and racks. 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).

The Beechcraft King Air 350i is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. company.

“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.

JGSDF currently operates seven King Air 350 aircraft. It had received eight, but one was destroyed in an accident on May 16, 2017. The recent delivery marks the first aircraft for Japan in the new King Air 350i variant.

Compared to its predecessor [King Air 350], the Beechcraft King Air 350i boasts more payload capability and range, a quieter interior with standard Wi-Fi. Two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A engines with Hartzell four blade propellers power the King Air 350i aircraft, and a fully integrated Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion digital avionics suite provides pilot(s) with state-of-the-art touchscreen controls.

Source, Image: Textron Aviation

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