ShinMaywa has a long tradition in amphibious aircraft and the US-2 is its latest product. It is derived from the similarly looking US-1 (for sometime the -2 was called US-1kai – for improved) that first flew in the ’70s. It may look similar to older amphibious aircrafts (even the WWII era ones) but the US-2 is a highly advanced aircraft, adapted to its role of maritime patrol, search and rescue and firefighting.
The US-2 has slightly larger wingspan than a Bombardier 415 but it is quite longer and with four Rolls-Royce AE 2100 turboprops that produce 4.600shp each is almost 4 times as powerful. It has state of the art subsystems that include fly-by-wire flight control system, a full glass cockpit and pressurized cabin, necessary for its cruising altitude of 20.000ft.
Four Rolls-Royce AE 2100 turboprops that produce 4.600shp eachA significant characteristic of the US-2 is the boundary layer control system that provides the aircraft with excellent STOL capabilities. You can see the general layout in the very cartoonish diagram above (I can’t imagine a non-Japanese company to have graphics as cool as these!). There is a dedicated turbine (a converted LHTEC T800 helicopter turboshaft) that provides flow through a system of pipes and ducts. The momentum that is introduced in the blown flaps and high-lift surfaces keeps the boundary layer attached and diverts the flow downwards thus providing lift in speeds where normally the wing should stall. (Source: Robot Pig)
With modifications, the US-2 can carry 15 t of firefighting water and fire extinguishers, which is equivalent to the amount that about 21 ordinary firefighting helicopters can carry. The STOL aircraft can drop water with pinpoint accuracy on the area where a fire has spread.
By taxiing on the surface of the water (ocean, etc.) for approx. 20 seconds, the 15 tons water tank can be filled up. In case of a major fire, the US-2 can scoop up water to repeatedly extinguish fires. (Source: ShinMaywa Industries, Ltd., Japan)
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