The MU-2 was one of postwar Japan's most successful commercial aircraft types.
Development of the MU-2, Mitsubishi's first indigenous postwar design, began in the late 1950s. Designed as a light twin turboprop transport suitable for a variety of civil and military roles, the MU-2 first flew on September 14 1963. This first MU-2 and the handful of MU-2As built were powered by Turboméca Astazou turboprops, all other models from the MU-2B onwards had Garrett TPE331s.
The MU-2 lineup can be divided up into two basic types, the standard fuselage and stretched fuselage models. The MU-2B, E, F, K, M, P and Solitaire feature the short fuselage, the others, including the Marquise, the stretched fuselage. The first stretched fuselage MU-2G flew on January 10 1969.
The MU-2 was progressively improved and upgraded throughout its production life. Notable changes include improved and more powerful TPE331 engines, and four blade propellers from the N and P models.
Mitsubishi established a production facility for MU-2s in San Angelo, Texas in the USA in 1967 to build MU-2s for the North American and world markets. The San Angelo Mitsubishi International facility became the sole source of MU-2 production until 1986 when the line finally closed.
Mitsubishi certificated all the civil TPE331 powered MU-2s as variants of the MU-2B and they were thus given the MU-2B type number followed by a number. However, these MU-2s were also given a separate marketing designation with a sequential suffix letter. The MU-2B-10 is e.g. the MU-2D, and the MU-2B-36A is the MU-2N.
Four MU-2Cs and 16 MU-2Ks were delivered to the Japanese Army as LR-1s for the liaison and photo reconnaissance role, while 29 MU-2Es were delivered two the Japanese Air Force as search-and-rescue MU-2Ss, equipped with an extended "thimble" nose radome, increased fuel capacity, bulged observation windows, and a sliding entry door for dropping rafts.
In 2000 over 500 MU-2s were in use as corporate transports (mainly in the USA), while many have been converted as freighters.
Copyright Airliners.net, some information Copyright Aerospace Publications
Back to Aircraft Data & History section.
Back to frontpage of Airliners.net