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Fuji Heavy Industries and Bell to jointly develop Japan's future UH-X multipurpose helicopter

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World Defense & Security Industry News - Fuji Heavy Industries & Bell
 
 
 
Fuji Heavy Industries and Bell to jointly develop Japan's future UH-X multipurpose helicopter
 
According to The Japan Times, the Japanese Defense Ministry said last Friday, July 17th, that it has chosen Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. as the main developer of the next-generation UH-X multipurpose helicopter for country's Ground Self-Defense Forces.
     
According to The Japan Times, the Japanese Defense Ministry said last Friday, July 17th, that it has chosen Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. as the main developer of the next-generation UH-X multipurpose helicopter for country's Ground Self-Defense Forces. Japan GSDF UH-1J tactical multirole helicopter
     
Fuji Heavy will be the leader in the development of a base commercial helicopter to be joined by the country's defense ministry and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of the United States. The commercial model will then be customized to meet GSDF needs in a bid to cut development costs. This would be the first time the Japan defense ministry adopted such a cost-reduction method.

The ministry will introduce a total of some 150 units of the UH-X in 20 years, beginning in fiscal 2021. It plans to launch the development project in the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, and hopes to start customizing work around 2017.

The Defense Ministry plans to shoulder some ¥13.3 billion ($107 mn) of the total development cost. The per-unit price of the next-generation GSDF aircraft is estimated at ¥1.2 billion ($9.6 mn).

In the developer selection process, Fuji Heavy outperformed contender Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. in six of seven evaluation categories, including development feasibility and delivery period.

The UH-X, the successor to the UH-1J helicopter, will be used for transporting personnel and goods.

Kawasaki Heavy initially won its bid for developing the successor model over Fuji Heavy, but the ministry started the selection process from scratch after public prosecutors charged two senior ministry officials in 2012 over a bid-rigging scandal with Kawasaki Heavy.

Japan's GSDF is currently using an aging fleet of 153 UH-1H/J choppers.

(Source: The Japan Times)