Japan aims for its indigenous Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) UH-X utility helicopter to be developed by its fiscal year 2017.

The type is seen as a replacement for the Bell/Fuji UH-1J now operated by the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF), says Japan's ministry of defence.

"The UH-X will be introduced for the replacement of UH-1J and UH-1H, performing almost the same missions as them," says the ministry.

Key missions include transporting soldiers and personnel as well as relief operations during natural disasters.


kawasaki kh-x

©Kawasaki Heavy Industries

Japan's 2017 fiscal year runs from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

"The design will be done by Japanese industry, but it has not been decided which companies will participate in this programme other than Kawasaki Heavy Industries," says the ministry.

It adds that there are no plans for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force or Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to operate the type.

The performance of the UH-X will be similar to the UH-1J. It will have a passenger capacity of two pilots and 11 personnel, or a cargo capacity of 4,200lb (1,905kg).

Maximum speed of the new type will be 260km/h (140kt) and the range will be the "same or longer" than the UH-1J's 480km (298 miles) range.

Source: Flight International