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Subaru conducts first flight of UH-2 helicopter

Subaru conducted the first flight of its new UH-2 twin-engined multirole helicopter on 19 May. (Subaru)

Japan's Subaru Corporation has conducted the first flight of its new UH-2 twin-engined multirole helicopter that is entering service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), a company spokesperson told Janes on 23 May.

The helicopter, flown by a company test pilot, conducted a 30-minute hovering flight on 19 May from Subaru's facility in Utsunomiya City, north of Tokyo, the spokesperson said.

Development of the first UH-2 prototype (referred to previously as UH-X) began in fiscal year (FY) 2015. After conducting the prototype‘s maiden flight in December 2018, along with subsequent flight tests, Subaru handed it over to the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) in February 2019.

In March 2020 the MoD's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) awarded Subaru contracts worth a combined total of JPY14.3 billion (USD111.6 million) to produce the first six UH-2 helicopters for the JGSDF, with deliveries set to be completed by January 2023.

The Subaru spokesperson said the company plans to deliver an additional seven helicopters to the JGSDF during FY 2024, and 13 more helicopters during FY 2025.

As previously reported by Janes , the new rotorcraft, which is based on the jointly developed Subaru Bell 412EPX commercial helicopter, features a Pratt & Whitney PT6T-9 Twin-Pac turboshaft engine and an integrated glass cockpit.

The UH-2 features a four-bladed main rotor, unlike the single-engined UH-1J, which has a two-bladed main rotor. This enables the UH-2 to transport greater loads, and have a longer flight range and a higher speed than the UH-1J, which will be replaced by the UH-2.

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