Janes reported that the Japan Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) announced on 24 June that development of the UH-2 multirole medium helicopter has been completed, with the aircraft now set to enter service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). Subaru contracted with Japan Ministry of Defense for the developing of the prototype of New Utility Helicopter in September 2015.
Subaru jointly developed the Subaru BELL 412EPX which is the latest civilian helicopter with BELL HELICOPTER, a Textron Inc. Company, USA. With this aircraft as a platform, then developed and completed the New Utility Helicopter for Japan Ministry of Defense. The flight test of the New Utility Helicopter was started from December 2018, it passed a series of flight tests successfully, and finally it got JMOD’s approval for delivery.
In March 2020, Japan Ministry of Defense’s awarded the company contracts worth a combined total of $129.2 million (JPY14.3 billion) for the production of the first six helicopters of the type for the JGSDF, with deliveries set to be completed by January 2023. Subaru BELL 412 EPX obtained approval of the design change of Japanese Type Certificate from Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) on January 18, 2019.
Upgrades over the previous 412EPI are mainly focused on the transmission and rotor mast. The new twin-engined helicopter features a four-bladed main rotor. The changes enable an increase in maximum take-off weight to 5,530kg (12,200lb) internally – almost 5,900kg with an external load â€“ from 5,400kg previously. Powered by twin 1,120shp (837kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-9 engines, the EPX also features the latest version of Bell’s BasiX Pro avionics suite.