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Japan Completes SH-60L Naval Helicopter’s Development

Japan Completes SH-60L Naval Helicopter’s Development

Two contracts for SH-60L helicopters worth $423.5 million and $467 million for fiscal years 2023 and 2024 have been secured. Both contracts include six SH-60L helicopters.

SH-60L, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), will succeed Mitsubishi/Sikorsky SH-60K helicopters. The new SH-60 Seahawk derivative includes improvements in sensors and flight performance. The latter has been regarded as urgent because of some dissatisfaction with SH-60K’s performance during take-off and landing.

Improvements to the flight performance have been made with a new transmission and increased pitch range for tail rotor blades. The new transmission has reduced vibration, a prominent disturbance for rotary-wing platforms. On the other hand, increased pitch range for tail rotors will allow for greater control, especially under harsh weather conditions.

Japan is known to produce multiple types of naval aviation platforms locally. Other examples include the Kawasaki MCH-101 (AW101 derivative) medium-lift helicopter and the Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft.