Rotorcraft Asia 2019: Subaru preps for 412EPX
Subaru is well known as a car brand, but it is as a helicopter manufacturer that the Japanese company made its debut at RotorcraftAsia 2019. Prominent on its booth was a scale model of the 412EPX, a joint cooperative effort with Bell.
Katsuhisa Hashimoto, general manager of the New Utility Helicopter programme management office at Subaru, said the 412EPX is an improvement over the 412EPI with a new transmission and various technological enhancements.
The transmission provides 11% extra torque, and for extra safety it can operate 30min after running dry. The 412EPX continues to use twin Pratt & Whitney PT6T-9 engines.
Hashimoto said that the 412EPX, which will be manufactured in parallel production lines in Japan and Canada, is ideal for mission sectors such as SAR, fire-fighting, law enforcement, coast guard and multipurpose use.
Indeed, the 412EPX has already been ordered by a launch customer in Japan. Subaru representatives said the aircraft would be ready for production to commence either later this year or in 2020.
Meanwhile, Subaru is in the process of gaining certification from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. This could take more than a year, but no difficulties are expected since the 412EPX received its US certification last July.
The 412EPX is also the basis for the UH-X that will be built for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). It is the comprises basic helicopter, but it has numerous equipment and avionic modifications to suit it for military use.
A first UH-X prototype was handed over to the JGSDF on 28 February for evaluations that are expected to last about a year.
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