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T-3 / T-5 / T-7 - Primary Trainer

The Fuji KM-2 Trainer was a development of the Beech T-34 Mentor. Japan licensed and built the T-3 version of the T-34 Mentor aircraft, and also built a four-seat liaison version (LM-1/LM-2), often informally referred to as the "Fuji." The Fuji T-5 is an improved T-3 with an Allison 250-B17D turboprop engine.

The Defense Agency plans to procure primary training aircraft for the Air Self-Defense Force. In order to select a primary trainer model for the ASDF's trainee pilots, the agency decided on 10 August 1999 to introduce an international competitive bidding system. The agency earmarked expenses for several units in its budgetary estimate for the following fiscal year, and invited dozens of domestic and foreign aircraft manufacturers to participate in a competitive bidding of specified contractors to be held by the end of 1999. The agency, which used to practice private contracts for its aircraft selections, used the competitive bidding system for the first time. The agency had been revamping its scandals-tainted procurement system.

The newly planned aircraft model is to replace the T-3 primary trainer. In 1998, the T-7, developed by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), was adopted. However, the then FHI chairman and others were arrested for their involvement in a corruption case over the development of a rescue floatplane for the Maritime Self-Defense Force. Therefore, the Defense Agency decided to suspend its contracts with FHI for one year from December 1998, and called off its placing of an order with FHI for the T-7.

In September 1998 JASDF selected a modified version of the Fuji T-3 Kai as its basic trainer. The first two aircraft will be delivered in 2000, 48 more are planned. The aircraft, re-titled the T-7, has an Allison 250 turboprop in place of the Lycoming piston engine and other changes to the cowling and wing. The final decision was between the T-7 and Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer, the Embraer Tucano and Raytheon T-6 having been eliminated.

If the business ban was prolonged, JDA officials may have had to rebid the project or select the foreign-built Pilatus PC-7, the only other entry in the contract competition.

The Rolls-Royce Model 250 is the world's most prevalent civilian helicopter engine. The latest generation Rolls Royce Model 250-B17F turboprop is derived from the Model 250-C20R+ turboshaft, and develops 450shp. Recent applications include the Fuji T-7 primary trainer, up to 70 of which are required for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

The first of 67 Fuji T-7 primary trainers, powered by the Model 250-B17F, is due for delivery to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force in 2002.

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