After a licence and technical assistance agreement had been concluded with Beech Aircraft Corp in 1953, Fuji Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Fuji Heavy industries Ltd) built the Mentor at the Utsonomiya plant. Deliveries began in August 1954, and Fuji supplied a total of 140 Mentors to the Japanese Government and a further 36, with spares, to the Philippine Air Force. A modified version of the Mentor with both military and civil uses was developed as the LM-1 Nikko, and 27 of these aircraft are in service as the standard multi-purpose liaison aircraft of the JGSDF. The prototype of a more powerful version (340hp Lycoming GSO-480-B1A6), designated KM, flew in December 1958, and the first production model was delivered to the Transportation Ministry in March 1959.
On 9 December 1959 the prototype KM set an international Class C-lc height record of 32,536ft (9,917m). A further development of the Mentor series was announced in 1960. Known as the KM-2, this two-seat primary trainer (powered by a 340hp Lycoming IGSO-480-A1F6) was delivered to the Japanese Navy (JMSDF) from September 1962 and deliveries were completed in May 1965. A propeller-turbine version of the KM-2 was the SM.
The SM was powered by a 578shp United Aircraft of Canada PT6A-6. Capable of all-weather operation, it accommodated a pilot and five passengers and was intended for military reconnaissance duties and SAR. Another variant was the KM-2B, which combined the airframe and power plant of the KM-2 with the two-seat installation of the T-34A. The first KM-2B (registered JA3725) was flown for the first time on 26 September 1974 and was selected to replace the JASDF’s T-34As.
One 340hp Lycoming GSO-480-B1A6.
length 26ft 3Ain (7.94m).
Empty weight 2,400lb (1,090kg); maximum take-off weight 3,860lb (1,750kg); wing loading 21.73lb/sq ft (106.12kg/sq m); power loading 11.35lb/hp (5.15kg/hp).
Maximum speed 220mph (355km/h) at 8,000ft (2,440m); rate of climb l,000ft/min (306m/min) at sea level; range (50% power) 960 miles (1,545km).