The ShinMaywa US-2 is a Japanese large STOL amphibious aircraft manufactured by Japan-based ShinMaywa Industries. Designed for air-sea rescue missions, the US-2 is operated by the 31st Fleet Air Wing (71st Air Force, 71st Flight Squadron) at Iwakuni air base and Atsugi air base. This aircraft scheduled to replace the older Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Shin Meiwa US-1A in Japanese service. The ShinMaywa US-2 fleet is deployed across the remote islands of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zones to provide surveillance and emergency medical transportation services.
The ShinMaywa US-2 is only amphibian capable of landing on rough seas with a wave height of 3 meters (land on water with waves 1/3 of its own height). Excellent Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities enable the US-2 to take off and land in much shorter distances – both on land and on water. The US-2 requires only one-fourth of the distance that commercial airliners require for takeoff and landing. An additional advantage is that, as an amphibian aircraft, the US-2 does not require runway construction. The US-2 incorporates a flexible airframe design allowing it to be converted into a fire-fighting amphibian, passenger transport aircraft, or a multi-purpose amphibian.
The improvements to the engines and the introduction of a pressurized cabin increased speed and extended operational range over the previous US-1A model. These improvements make possible rescue capability for an even wider operational area. The maximum range of the aircraft is over 4,700km. The aircraft can quickly reach remote islands and sites of maritime accidents during search and rescue (SAR) operations. Including its predecessor US-1, JMSDF US-2 STOL Search and Rescue Amphibian have been dispatched over 1,000 times to rescue victims of maritime accidents. The ShinMaywa US-2 can be used as fire fighter taking 15 tonnes of water.
The US-2 has a length of 33.3m, wing span of 33.2m, and a height of 9.8m. The empty weight of the aircraft is 25,630kg. The aircraft can carry up to 20 passengers or 12 stretchers. The ShinMaywa US-2 is powered by four Rolls-Royce AE 2100J turboprop engines driving six Dowty R414 bladed propellers. The BLC engine provides a power output of 1,015kW. The aircraft is equipped with a tricycle type landing gear. The US-2 aircraft can fly at a maximum altitude of over 6,000m. It has the cruising speed of 480km/h and maximum speed of 560km/h. The maximum take-off weights of the aircraft on land and water are 47.7t and 43t respectively.