August 10, 2022

Subaru delivers first production UH-2 JGSDF utility helicopter

Subaru delivered its first production UH-2 utility helicopter to Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force on June 30, in a ceremony held at its Utsunomiya plant in Tochigi Prefecture.

The delivery of the first production UH-2 follows the completion of pre-delivery testing on the helicopter after its maiden flight in May this year. Japan’s military procurement agency announced the successful completion of UH-2 development in June last year, paving the way for the start of production.

Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and Subaru representatives at the delivery ceremony (JGSDF)

The UH-2 will replace the JGSDF’s UH-1J helicopter fleet, which will begin development in fiscal year 2015. The Department of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) awarded Subaru contracts to produce the first six UH-2s in March. 2020, with deliveries under the 14.3 billion yen (~$111.6 million) deals expected to be completed by January 2023. Tokyo currently plans to acquire 150 UH-2s to completely replace the UH-1J, with a Subaru spokesperson saying Janes in May that the company planned to deliver seven additional helicopters in fiscal year 2024, with another 13 to be delivered in fiscal year 2025.

The UH-2 is visually distinguishable from its predecessor by its four-bladed main rotor and Pratt & Whitney PT6T-9 Twin-Pac turboshaft engine, giving the helicopter an increased maximum gross weight of 12,200 pounds (5,534 kilograms) , while a gearbox facilitates the delivery of additional torque and a 30-minute dry run capability. Inside, an integrated glass cockpit provides crews with enhanced situational awareness. According to the ATLA, existing mission equipment and ground support equipment for the UH-1H and UH-1J can be reused on the UH-2 despite the various upgrades.

Another view of the first production UH-2 (JGSDF)

The UH-2 is a militarized derivative of the Subaru-Bell 412EPX, jointly developed by Subaru and Bell Textron. Subaru adds that it will continue to market the 412EPX to civilian customers, with the first 412EPX delivered to the Japanese National Police Agency in May 2021 now in service with the Iwate Prefectural Police. The Japanese Coast Guard placed an order for the 412EPX earlier in June, with deliveries of an unknown number of helicopters to begin in 2025.