skip to main content

Japan loses two SH-60Ks in crash

The two Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Sikorsky) SH-60Ks, which crashed on 20 April, were participating in an anti-submarine exercise with the JMSDF submarines and surface vessels, according to the service. In this representative 2016 photo, a JMSDF SH-60K Seahawk (in the front) operates with a US Navy MH-60R Seahawk. (US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew C Duncker)

Two Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Sikorsky) SH-60K helicopters of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) have crashed after they suffered a suspected mid-air collision during a night-time training exercise.

Japan Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara said the incident occurred between 2238 and 2304 h local time on 20 April, while the helicopters were conducting an anti-submarine drill with other JMSDF units. According to Kihara, three helicopters were participating in the drill, 150 n miles east of Torishima Island, in the Izu Islands chain.

“Two of the helicopters were flying in close proximity to each other and we have determined that there is a high possibility that there was a collision,” Kihara said on 21 April.

The third helicopter returned to base and Kihara said that the crew was being debriefed. Additional details of the incident could emerge from these interviews.

According to the minister, communications with one of the helicopters was lost at 2238 h local time. “One minute later, at 2239 [h local time], an emergency signal beacon was activated,” Kihara said. “We are receiving transmissions from the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT).”

Rescue units have found some wreckage, plus the flight recorders of both helicopters, according to Kihara. “Although both flight recorders are being analysed, no data indicating that there was mechanical problems or abnormalities with the aircraft during the flight has been confirmed at this time,” Kihara said on 22 April.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...