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Shikoku orders latest model D-3 from Kawasaki
The latest BK117 variant, D-3, has been given a five-blade, easy-to-maintain main rotor system. Shikoku Air Services has ordered one to use for emergency medical operations in Kagawa Prefecture.

Japan-based rotary operator Shikoku Air Service has placed an order for an H145/BK117D-3 (D-3), the latest model helicopter from Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The aircraft is slated for use in Kagawa Prefecture's emergency medical services.

The D-3 is an improved version of the D-2. It retains the spacious, flat-floor cabin; the clamshell-type cargo doors at the rear that provide excellent application versatility; improved high-altitude hovering performance; greater noise reduction; and the latest cockpit avionics.

It does feature a new five-bladed main rotor system that increases useful load weight and reduces the maintenance period. The MTOW has been increased by approximately 100kg, and the total empty weight has been reduced by approximately 50kg, increasing the useful load of the D-3 by approximately 150kg. The maintenance cycle is reduced by around 50 per cent, meaning fewer inspection items and intervals.

The BK117 is a multi-mission, medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter jointly developed with Airbus Helicopters. The first model was delivered in 1983, and this order by Shikoku is the ninth of the D-3 version.

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