Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said they were interested in acquiring helicopters from Japan for the Army Aviation Regiment, which now has 60 pilots. Inquirer reported that He said he will fly to Japan toward the end of July to sign the terms of reference for the Philippine Army’s cooperation activities with Japan. Last month, the Philippine Air Force and Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force held joint drills at Clark Air Base to enhance interoperability in humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The foreign and defense ministers of the Philippines and Japan met in April to expand defense cooperation amid concerns over the situations in the East and South China Seas and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). Japan Ministry of Defense plans to replace the JGSDF’s existing fleet of 127 UH-1J utility helicopters with 150 UH-2 s over the next 20 years. The first UH-2 helicopter is scheduled to be delivered to the JGSDF in 2022. In June 2022, Subaru Corporation 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 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. 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. 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).
Bell Helicopter has signed a purchase agreement with the Philippines for Bell 412EPI helicopters. The agreement was for 16 helicopters for the Philippine Air Force, which are being acquired as part of the ongoing Horizon 2 modernization plan of the Southeast Asian country’s military. But Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on February 12th 2018 terminated a deal to acquire 16 Canadian Bell 412 military helicopters for $233 million following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempt restrict the use of the aircraft by the South East Asian country. The Philippines has been forced not to accede to Ottawa’s terms but rather to look to alternative sources for its arms.