A production version of Subaru Corporation’s UH-2s (Utility Helicopter in service with the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) is being displayed at the DSEI Japan show in Tokyo. This is the first public appearance at a defence exhibition of the new Japanese utility helicopter.
The helicopter is on display at the pavilion of Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA). According to a Subaru official, the company will be able to attain a production rate of 10-15 helicopters per year. The official added that the UH-2 will only be used by the JGSDF with no plans for the other arms of the Japanese military to acquire the type. He also confirmed that Subaru Corporation was looking at export of the UH-2, to Asian nations, if there was interest.
The JGSDF is slated to acquire 150 UH-2s and will utilise the new helicopters island defence and also civilian task such as disaster relief and search and rescue.
The UH-2 is the next-generation utility helicopter for the JGSDF and Subaru delivered the first production helicopter to the JGSDF in June 2022. The first prototype UH-2 began flight tests in 2018. The contract for what was then known as the UH-X was originally awarded by the Japanese Ministry of Defence in 2015, to Fuji Heavy Industries.
The UH-2 is based on the civilian Subaru Bell 412EPX, which itself is based on the Bell 412EPI. The UH-2 is manufactured at a new Subaru Utsunomiya Plant, alongside the Subaru Bell 412EPX. Subaru has delivered over 450 utility helicopters to the Japanese self defence forces till date across the UH-1B, UH-1H and UH-1J.
The UH-2 incorporates the same basic fuselage as the UH-1 and 412 series, and approximately 80 % of the hand tools used for the legacy UH-1 fleet can be used for the UH-2.
by Asian Military Review, DSEI Japan 2023