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Japan conducts deck landing of MCH-101 helicopter on Mogami frigate

An illustrative view of the MCH-101 helicopter with the Northrop Grumman airborne laser mine detection system. The aircraft type has since conducted deck landing trials on a Mogami-class frigate. (Northrop Grumman)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has conducted deck landing trials of the MCH-101 airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) helicopter on one of its Mogami-class guided-missile frigates.

The milestone was confirmed by Fleet Air Squadron 51, a unit of the JMSDF's Fleet Air Wing, on 13 July via an official social media channel. The trials involved the MCH-101 example that bears the serial number 53 and the JMSDF's third Mogami-class frigate, JS Noshiro .

The operational tests involved an arrival and departure of the MCH-101 helicopter, according to the statement published by Fleet Air Squadron 51. “By co-operating with other JMSDF units, the Fleet Air Wing is working to improve the service's defence capabilities and meet the expectations of our people,” the formation said.

Janes reached out to Fleet Air Wing to enquire on whether the MCH-101 has since been fully qualified to operate from the Mogami-class frigates but they had not responded at the time of publication.

However, Janes understands that Fleet Air Squadron 51 is largely a research and development formation focused on conducting trials for the Fleet Air Wing. Besides trials, the formation also trains airmen in the usage of new platforms and equipment.

The MCH-101 is derived from the Leonardo AW101 utility helicopter and fitted with Japanese-developed AMCM management system. The aircraft is licence-built in-country by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI).

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