“In today’s test, our test pilot piloted the prototype, hovered for about 30 minutes at the prefectural Nagoya Airport (Toyoyama-cho, Nishikasugai-gun, Aichi Prefecture), and then landed safely at the airport.”
Based on a contract with the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA), the rotorcraft with “enhanced capacities” has been under development by MHI company at the Komaki Minami Plant of Nagoya Aerospace Systems Mfg. Co., Ltd., which is adjacent to the airport since 2015.
It is based on the SH-60K maritime helicopter in service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). MHI will continue conducting flight tests for delivery to the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency in 2021.
The SH-60K is an improved variant of the MH-60J helicopter. Both types were produced by MHI under license from Sikorsky are the “Japanese variant” of the SH-60B Seahawk. SH-60J began deliveries in August 1991 with over 100 units produced by 2007. The first production SH-60K was delivered to the JMSDF on 10 August 2005. As of 2020, the JMSDF fleet had 18 SH-60Js and 63 SH-60Ks in operation.
Regarding the SH-60K, Mitsubishi developed new main rotor blades, ship landing assist system (to help with deck operations at sea), new avionics system, and other systems. Both J and K variants are used by the JMSDF for anti-submarine-warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and search-and-rescue (SAR).