JGSDF adds to King Air 350 fleet


The Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) has ordered a new special-mission Beechcraft King Air 350i.

Textron Aviation has delivered the aircraft, equipped with multiple special-mission modifications, to Japcon. 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.

“We are honoured to expand our relationship with the JGSDF,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president of special-mission sales for Textron Aviation. “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.”

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,” added Gibbs. “When the JGSDF needed a modern aircraft with low direct operating costs, it again chose the Beechcraft King Air 350 platform.”

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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