Defence Helicopter

PREMIUM: Japan orders its first series UH-X helicopters

10th June 2020 - 01:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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The Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) in Japan has placed orders for the first six production UH-X helicopters for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).

Two contracts for these aircraft, signed on 19 March but not publicised at the time, amounted to JPY14.3 billion ($131.6 million). The beneficiary was Subaru Corporation (formerly Fuji Heavy Industries), who will manufacture them in Japan.

These six aircraft are to be completed by January 2023.

The utility helicopter programme, originally called UH-X, will likely see the aircraft receiving the nomenclature UH-2. The type, based on the commercially available Bell 412EPX, will supplant the UH-1J workhorse, of which more than 120 are thought to be still in JGSDF service.

Incidentally, the Japanese police ordered a Bell 412EPX last year; this helicopter, being manufactured by Subaru in Japan, will be ready by 2022.

Bell and Subaru brought a 412EPX to the Singapore Airshow in February (pictured above), indicating a keenness to sell the type on the export market. The UH-X has various customisations to suit it for ...

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