Mitsubishi H-60

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SH-60J/K Seahawk
UH-60J/JA Black Hawk
SH-60J landing March 2007.jpg
A JMSDF SH-60J Seahawk helicopter from JDS Haruna lands onboard USS Russell in 2007.
Role ASW/SAR helicopter
National origin Japan
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
First flight 31 August 1987
Introduction 1991
Status In service
Primary user Japan Self-Defense Forces
Number built 178
Developed from Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk

The Mitsubishi H-60 series is twin-turboshaft engine helicopter based on the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter family for use by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). The SH-60J/K are anti-submarine patrol version for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).[1] The UH-60J is a search and rescue version for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and JMSDF. The UH-60JA is a utility version for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).[2]

Design and development[edit]


The JMSDF chose SH-60B Seahawk as the successor of the Mitsubishi HSS-2A/B Sea King. The Japan Defense Agency acquired a S-70B-2 from Sikorsky for study in 1985. The Defense Agency was going to develop Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III for Japan, but it was declined by the United States, and most avionics sets were developed in the Technical Research and Development Institute.[3] The Defense Agency ordered two XSH-60Js from Sikorsky for $27 million. Their first flights were on 31 August and in October 1987. The Defense Agency designated the model SH-60J. They were fitted with Japanese avionics systems and tested by the JMSDF.[4]

The SH-60J is built in Japan under license from Sikorsky. It began deliveries in August 1991 and entered service thereafter. Based on a concept of the JMSDF, HQS-103 Dipping Sonar, HPS-104 active electronically scanned array Search Radar, and HLR-108 ESM System equipment of the avionics of SH-60B be different.[3] The engine is the GE/IHI T700-IHI-701C turboshaft, which Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries produced under license. It is a hybrid of SH-60B and SH-60F, except for avionics. The crew includes a pilot, copilot and sensor operator. The copilot can concentrate on the role of Tactical Coordinator with the help of the Automatic Flight Management System and Inertial Navigation system.[5][6] Over 100 SH-60Js have been produced by 2007.[7]


A JMSDF SH-60K, 21st Squadron

The SH-60K is an upgraded version of the SH-60J.[8] The SH-60K anti-submarine helicopter which strengthened performance and versatility for the JMSDF. Mitsubishi began development in 1997. The SH-60K has formerly known as SH-60Kai.[9] The Director General of the Defense Agency admitted adoption in March 2005.[10]

Mitsubishi developed new main rotor blade, Ship Landing Assist System, new avionics system, and other systems. Two prototypes SH-60Ks were built by modifying SH-60Js. These prototypes were completed and delivered by June 2002. The SH-60K's cabin was expanded in length by 30 cm (11.8 in) and in height by 15 cm (5.91 in) compared to the SH-60J.[10] The larger cabin allows for the new avionics system.[11] Those and the airframe changes are compensated by the exchange of the T700-IHI-401C2 engine. The first production SH-60K was delivered to JMSDF on 10 August 2005.[10] A total of 50 SH-60Ks are being supplied under new production.[9]


A JASDF UH-60J, Training Squadron

In 1988, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force choose the UH-60L to replace its KV-107 and Sikorsky S-62 helicopters.[12][13] The first aircraft was built by Sikorsky, with the company designation S-70A-12, and two more were assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.[2][14] Mitsubishi is producing the remaining UH-60Js under license.[15][16] The Japan Marine Self-Defense Force also chose Search and rescue, and utility helicopters to replace the S-61A in 1989.

The UH-60J is powered by T700 engines license-built by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries in Japan. It features external fuel tanks, an external rescue winch, a Japan-built radar, a FLIR turret in the nose and bubble side windows for observers.[13] The Japan Air Self-Defense Force machines were fitted with T700-IHI-701A engines, while Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force machines were fitted with marinized T700-IHI-401C engines.[14] Fuel tanks can be attached to pylons on stub wings. The UH-60Js began deliveries in 1991 and entered service in 1992.[17] A total of 40 UH-60Js were in service in 2010. The JASDF ordered 40 newer UH-60Js in December 2010 to begin replacing older UH-60Js.[18]

Mitsubishi and Sikorsky have teamed in support of the Self Defense Force's mission requirements. The UH-60J+ incorporates various upgrades for the modern SAR mission.[19] By 2006 Defense budget of Japan, UH-60Js begin addition of Refueling probe in 2009.[20] These UH-60Js completed training with the United States Air Force and widened their activity in SAR mission.[21]


A JGSDF UH-60JA, Kasumigaura Aviation School

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force ordered a utility variant of the UH-60L designated UH-60JA in 1995.[17] The JGSDF began receiving the UH-60JA in 1997.[2] It features improved avionics, including FLIR, Color weather radar, GPS receiver, a Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpit and wire cutter.[14][17] The JGSDF plans to acquire 70.[22]

The JGSDF plan was to replace its UH-1H helicopters which became obsolete. Due to budgetary constraints it was decided to replace the rotary wing fleet with a high-low combination of UH-60JA and UH-1J (an updated UH-1H) with the UH-60JA being the high and the UH-1J the low.[23] By 2004 the budgetary constraints have driven the JGSDF to seriously consider eliminating either the UH-60JA or the UH-1J from the fleet, and purchasing just one type of airframe for the utility mission.[24]


A JMSDF UH-60J lands aboard USS Fitzgerald
A JASDF UH-60J, Hyakuri Air Rescue Wing
  • S-70B-2: Version purchased from Sikorsky for research by the Defense Agency. 
  • XSH-60J: Prototype for SH-60J. 2 XSH-60Js were exported by Sikorsky.
  • SH-60J: Seahawk version for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force produced by Mitsubishi under licence.[1]
  • UH-60J: Rescue helicopter license produced by Mitsubishi for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.[12][13]
  • UH-60JA: Utility version for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force based on the UH-60J.[22]
  • USH-60K: Among two prototypes, one was redesignated as evaluation type.[25]
  • SH-60K: Improved version of SH-60J. Trial manufacture finished in 2001, and deliveries began in August 2005.[8]


  • Japan Air Self-Defense Force has 31 UH-60Js in operation as of Nov. 2008.[26]
    • Akita Air Rescue Wing : UH-60Js Search and rescue wing.
    • Ashiya Air Rescue Wing
    • Chitose Air Rescue Wing
    • Hamamatsu Air Rescue Wing
    • Hyakuri Air Rescue Wing
    • Komatsu Air Rescue Wing
    • Matsushima Air Rescue Wing
    • Naha Air Rescue Wing
    • Niigata Air Rescue Wing
    • Nyutabaru Air Rescue Wing
  • Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has 27 UH-60J/JAs in use as of Nov. 2008.[26]
    • 15th Brigade
      • No. 15 Helicopter Wing (Camp Naha): UH-60JAs Search and rescue squadron.
    • 1st Helicopter Brigade
      • No. 102 Squadron (Camp Kisarazu): UH-60JAs Subsidiary Air assault unit.
    • 12th Brigade
      • No. 12 Helicopter Wing 1st Squadron (Camp Kita-Utunomiya)
    • Western Army Aviation Group
      • Western Helicopter Wing (Camp Metabaru)
    • Kasumigaura Aviation School
    • Educational Support Squadron
  • Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has 102 SH-60J/Ks and 19 UH-60Js in service as of Nov. 2008.[26]

Specifications (SH-60J)[edit]

General characteristics



See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ a b Mitsubishi SH-60J. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Retrieved: 10 December 2008
  2. ^ a b c Mitsubishi UH-60J. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Retrieved: 15 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b Goebel, Greg. Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk / Variant, Air Vector,, 1 April 2009.
  4. ^ "Sikorsky SH-60B". All the World's Rotorcraft. Jane's Information Group, 2010. subscription article dated 1 February 2010.
  5. ^ "AFMS controller for the SH-60J". Jane's Avionics. Jane's Information Group, 24 January 2007. Retrieved: 18 December 2008.
  6. ^ "Strapdown Attitude and Heading Reference System for the SH-60J". Jane's Avionics. Jane's Information Group, 24 January 2007. Retrieved: 18 December 2008.
  7. ^ Leoni 2007, p. 280.
  8. ^ a b Mitsubishi SH-60K, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Retrieved on 10 December 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Mitsubishi SH-60K Upgrade". Jane's, 11 June 2008.
  10. ^ a b c Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. "Development of SH-60K Patrol Helicopter" (PDF). Technical Review Vol. 42 No. 5 (Dec. 2005). Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  11. ^ Goebel, Greg. "Seahawk in Foreign Service"., 1 April 2009.
  12. ^ a b Leoni 2007, p. 282.
  13. ^ a b c Bishop 2008, p. 40.
  14. ^ a b c Goebel, Greg. Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk., 1 April 2009. Retrieved: 21 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Mitsubishi (Sikorsky) UH-60J". Jane's Helicopter Markets and Systems. Jane's Information Group, 2009. subscription article, dated 16 November 2009.
  16. ^ "Mitsubishi (Sikorsky) UH-60 (Japan)". Section Aircraft - Rotary-wing - Military, Jane's All the World's Aircraft. Jane's Information Group, 27 January 2010. Retrieved: 24 September 2010.
  17. ^ a b c Bishop 2008, p. 41.
  18. ^ Waldron, Greg. "Mitsubishi wins $2.3bn deal for 40 UH-60Js". Flight International, 9 December 2010.
  19. ^ Sikorsky Frontlines Q1 2009. Sikorsky, Q1 2009. Retrieved: 21 December 2009.
  20. ^ "Section 3. Mid-Term Defense Program". Annual White Paper, DEFENSE OF JAPAN 2008. Japan Ministry of Defense. Retrieved: 4 August 2010.
  21. ^ Angelique Perez. "33RQS helicopter pilots give air refueling training to JASDF". US Air Force Kadena Air Base, 2 April 2009. Retrieved: 15 March 2010.
  22. ^ a b Leoni 2007, pp. 282-283.
  23. ^ "Japan's new utility helicopter makes debut". Jane's Information Group, 29 September 1999. Retrieved: 11 August 2010.
  24. ^ Sobie, Brendan. "Japan rethinks helicopter needs". Flight International, 16 March 2004. Retrieved: 11 August 2010.
  25. ^ "Mitsubishi-Sikorsky UH-60 BlackHawk / SH-60 SeaHawk". Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  26. ^ a b c "Directory: World Air Forces". Flight International, 11–17 November 2008.
  • Leoni, Ray D. Black Hawk, The Story of a World Class Helicopter, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2007. ISBN 978-1-56347-918-2.
  • Bishop, Chris. Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, Osprey Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84176-852-6.

External links[edit]