Textron Aviation has delivered the first two of three Cessna U-680A Citation Sovereigns to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
The U-680A is based on the Cessna Citation Latitude 680 but configured to perform special missions. In JASDF service, the platform will be operated in a flight inspection role, helping to ensure the integrity of instrument approaches and airway procedures that help constitute the national airspace of Japan.
Bob Gibbs, vice president of Special Mission Sales at Textron Aviation, said: “We’re proud the JASDF selected the Cessna Citation Latitude, the best-selling midsize jet, in support of its flight inspection mission… [The role] has long been a vital part of providing a safe air transportation system making instrument flight possible and safeguarding passengers and aircrew… The Latitude’s long range, large cabin and class-leading performance ideally suits it for the flight inspection mission.”
The three aircraft will replace the air arm’s Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (NAMC) YS-11FC fleet, which is scheduled to be completely phased out of service this year. The first two aircraft – serials 02-3031 (c/n 680A-0140) and 02-3032 (c/n 680A-0185) – were handed over to the Flight Checker Squadron at Iruma air base in Saitama, Japan, on March 20 and the third aircraft will be delivered in early 2021.
Japan’s U-680A has been fitted with Norwegian Special Mission’s (NSM’s) UNIFIS 3000 Flight Inspection System, which will support the platform’s mission in providing periodic evaluation of navigational aids, such as flight procedures and electronic signals to ensure accuracy and safety.