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Japan receives additional King Air ISR aircraft

Textron Aviation has delivered a Beechcraft King Air 350i special mission aircraft to Japcon Incorporated aircraft management company ahead of entry into service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).

The eighth LR-2 variant King Air 350i earmarked for the JGSDF. (Textron)

The eighth LR-2 variant King Air 350i earmarked for the JGSDF. (Textron)

Announced on 25 February, the King Air 350i has been fitted with mission modifications that include a belly-mounted forward-looking infrared (FLIR) radar, a forward executive cabin, communications equipment, and racks. In JGSDF service, the aircraft will be designated Liaison/Reconnaissance (LR)-2.

“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,” Bob Gibbs, Textron vice-president Special Mission Sales, was quoted as saying.

As noted by Textron, the King Air 350i will undergo further modifications in Japan, including a medical configuration, before entering service as an LR-2 aircraft.

The LR-2 will be fielded by the JGSDF as part of its only fleet of fixed-wing aircraft, with operations undertaken by the ‘Renraku Teisatsu Hikotai’ Communication and Reconnaissance Squadron, based at Kisarazu Airfield in the Chiba Prefecture.

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