Japan has agreed to deliver a dozen US2 seaplanes to India’s Navy. The $1.65Bn deal has been percolating for some time. The Indian aircraft will be known as the US-2i. With the same capabilities as the Japanese US-2, some equipment modifications are being made specific to Indian requirements. The only operator of the aircraft is the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force. Which makes the Indian order very useful for the manufacturer.
The plane has a crew of 11, and is capable of carrying 20 passengers or 12 stretchers for search-and-rescue missions. It has STOL capabilities and can even do water bombing missions with a 15 ton payload. It has four 4,600SHP Rolls-Royce Allison AE2100J engines which is also used by the C130J. With a 2500NM range the aircraft can patrol far. Take a look at the map. From Chennai the US2 can cover a very big area.
But if these aircraft are to be based on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as has been mentioned, then the effective ranges the aircraft will be able to cover moves considerably further east as the map illustrates. From Vir Savarkar International Airport the range map looks like this:
This range allows the aircraft to cover virtually any area in the South China Sea. This could be very helpful to a number of nations in the area. But guess who this is going to annoy? Which might perfectly fit the emerging Japan/India axis. It is amazing what an airplane can do.