Subaru Corporation today completed the maiden flight of the New Utility Helicopter (UH-2) for Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) at its Aerospace Company Utsunomiya Plant, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. This helicopter, flown by Subaru’s flight crew, took off from the Utsunomiya Airfield and landed safely after its 30-minute flight. The Japan Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has awarded Subaru Corporation contracts worth a combined total of USD131.6 million (JPY14.3 billion) for the production and delivery of six UH-X military utility helicopters to the the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).
The UH-2 utility helicopter is being developed jointly by Bell Helicopter and Subaru (formerly Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd) to meet the requirements of the JGSDF. Subaru has developed the New Utility Helicopter (UH-2) leveraging the SUBARU BELL 412EPX as the platform that has been jointly developed with Bell, a Textron Inc. company. This helicopter will be delivered to JGSDF after the completion of a series of flight tests by Subaru. Japan MoD plans to replace the JGSDF’s existing fleet of 127 UH-1J utility helicopters with 150 UH-Xs over the next 20 years. The first UH-X helicopter is scheduled to be delivered to the JGSDF in 2022.
The helicopter will be equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PT6T-9 engines coupled to a robust main rotor gearbox. Each engine will integrate state-of-the-art electronic engine controls (ECS) and will deliver a maximum take-off power of 1,800shp (1,342kW). The PT6T-9 engine will deliver 15% more power than its predecessors and will also ensure a time between overhauls (TBO) of 4,000 hours. The ECS, equipped with the full hydromechanical back-up, will further reduce the workload of the pilot. The power-plant will enable the helicopter to achieve a maximum horizontal speed of 125kt and deliver superior performance in hot and high conditions.
The UH-2 helicopter is based on the airframe of Bell 412EPI and will feature a rugged fuselage integrating a four-blade main rotor and a semi-monocoque tail boom structure fitted with a two-blade tail rotor. The under-fuselage will incorporate a skid-type landing gear. The helicopter is designed to meet the specifications of the JGSDF, while offering superior performance, safety, and efficiency. It will support the most challenging missions and will also ensure low lifecycle costs and high availability. It will have an overall length of approximately 13m, a width of 3m, and an overall height of 4m. The maximum gross weight will be 5.5t, while the useful load of the rotorcraft will be more than 2t.