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Japan Ground Self Defense Force expands its Textron Aviation Special Missions King Air 350 fleet


Textron Aviation announced 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).

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Japan Ground Self Defense Force expands its Textron Aviation Special Missions King Air 350 fleet King Air 350i  (Picture source: Textron Aviation )


The Beechcraft King Air 350i surpasses its predecessor’s high-caliber performance with 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.

“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.”.