The Shin Meiwa SS-2 is one of the few flying boats to see military service in the 1960s and beyond. It was designed as a result of a requirement by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence force for a anti submarine flying boat, as such aircraft were allowed to be fielded by the Japanese armed forces under the terms of the post World War 2 treaties. As part of its anti submarine role it was required to enter the water and deploy its dipping sonar and conduct a search and then take off again from the water even in less than perfect weather conditions. To be able to do so in rough seas shaped its design. It had the traditional high fuselage mono wing design seen on many flying boats. It has four turbo prop engines and under-wing floats on struts as well as a distinctive T shaped tail section. The first two prototypes flew on 5th October 1967 with 23 produced. The aircraft proved capable of landing on water in winds of 25kts (29mph) and take off with wave heights reaching 10ft. It carried a crew of 10 comprising 2 pilots, navigator, flight engineer, and 6 ASW crew.
The SS-2A (US-1) is an amphibious search and rescue variant. Since it has tricycical landing gear it can land on dry land as well as water so is not a flying boat. This variant flew initially on 16th October 1974 first on water and later with successful land take off and landings. It has more powerful engines than the ASW variant and a crew of 9 plus room for 20 seated or 12 stretchered survivors. It also has a sliding rescue door on the port side and carries a wide variety of rescue gear such as flares, life rafts and even an air droppable lift boat with outboard motor. It can also be refuelled at sea by another SS-2A or by a surface vessel giving it tremendous range and endurance. A SS-2A/US-1 carried out its first rescue, from a Greek vessel in 1976, and by 1999, these aircraft had made 548 rescues during which 550 people were rescued.
|2,371 miles (3817km)
|(PS-1 version only) , x4 150kg (331lb) anti submarine bombs, 20 sonobuoys, x2 under wing homing torpedoes, wing tip surface to air rocket pods (x6 127 mm unguided rockets, x3 per wing tip)