Japan’s US-2 Amphibious Aircraft

ShinMaywa US-2

An Asia Times article advocating the US procure some of these aircraft, has promoted me to look again at a relatively unique aircraft, Japan’s US-2 amphibian built by ShinMaywa.

It has been a while since the USCG operated amphibious aircraft. Having been a passenger on an HU-16E during a water landing as a cadet, I can attest it was interesting. I would be hard put to justify Coast Guard procurement of these, even though they share engines and propellers with the C-130Js and C-27Js. The need for urgent rescue beyond the range of our helicopters or the in flight refueled range of ARRS helicopters is very rare. Water landings at sea are inherently dangerous and impose additional costs in maintenance due to corrosion. Amphibians also tend to have aerodynamic disadvantages that effect efficiency daily, while the likelihood of being forced down at sea is now much more remote.

Still the ability to land at sea or near small islands with no airports is intriguing.  Reportedly India is buying twelve of these. Both Russia (Beriev BE-200) and China (Harbin SH-5 and AVIC AG600) build or have built amphibious aircraft of similar size.

ShinMeiwa, now ShinMaywa, has a long history or building seaplanes and amphibious aircraft. Its corporate progenitor, Kawanishi Aircraft Company, built four engine seaplane patrol bombers (H6K “Mavis” and H8K “Emily”) used in WWII as well as what may have been the best Japanese fighter of WWII.

3 thoughts on “Japan’s US-2 Amphibious Aircraft

  1. The one unique attribute they have as a rescue platform and other aerial assets lack is the ability to rescue many victims at once.

  2. It’s a bit off-topic, but I also wonder, since it is rated for STOL, whether it might make a good conversion to water-tanker for firefighting?

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