Prototype UH-X helo to undergo tests, with plans to produce 150 units for Japanese forces

By: Mike Yeo November 28, 2018

Subaru's illustration of its UH-X helicopter. (Subaru Corporation)

TOKYO — Japan’s Subaru Corporation is conducting ground tests with its prototype UH-X helicopter, which is slated to replace the Fuji Heavy Industries/Bell UH-1J utility helicopter in Japanese service.

According to Ayako Nakajima with Subaru’s defense programs division, the first prototype UH-X helicopter, which is based on the Bell 412EP family, has been built and is undergoing ground testing. These ground tests will be followed by its first flight and delivery to the Japanese government, which is expected in early 2019.

A Japanese photographer last week published an photo of the prototype with its engines running on the ground at Subaru’s facility in Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo.

The maiden flight will lead to the full-scale production of 150 UH-X helicopters for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, which plans to use the aircraft in a variety of missions, including disaster relief.