I’ve never thought much about helicopters, now they seem very important. In Japan there are three helicopter manufacturers: Fuji Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Only the heaviest of industries can manufacture rotorcraft. There are few clients; helicopters are supplied to the Self Defence Force (SDF) or the coast guard. The news services seem to get their helicopters from overseas (the “Eurocopter”).
On the day of the earthquake we sat in a small park near our house. It is opposite the National Defence Headquarters and helicopters were constantly arriving and leaving. I went to get some food for us to eat. After leaving through the automatic doors of the convenience store I heard a chopping sound and stood outside with some other small children. There were five of us. We watched a big Chinook CH-47JA take off from the defence headquarters. It went north. I don’t know what it saw up there.
Boeing Chinook CH-47JA Built by Kawasaki Aerospace Company. Photo by Bruce Martin. Four of these helicopters were used to drop water over the stricken nuclear reactors in Fukushima.
UH-60J search and rescue (SAR) helicopters produced under license from Sikorsky by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. These will become more prevalent over the next 20 years.
Mitsubishi MH 2000 (discontinued in 2004). The first helicopter designed and manufactured in Japan, an “indigenous helicopter.”
Mitsubishi HSS-2B. There were 23 of these helicopters built. This is my favourite helicopter because the angles feel slightly wrong.
Mitsubishi H-60 is a series of Helicopters based on the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter family. This is the 60K the newest version.
Fuji-Bell 204B-2: Military utility transport helicopter. Photo taken from THIS BLOG HERE. That blog has the best collection of Japanese helicopter photos i’ve seen.
Photo by Menno Teunisse. The MH-53E. Eleven MH-53E’s replaces nine KV-107′s which were originally built from kits sent by Boeing. A long-range version KV-107IIA-17 (CT58-140-1) was built for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, only one was built. But SDF KV-107s are now out of service.
AW139 Medium Twin Helicopter (Eurocopter) distributed by Mitsui Bussan Aerospace and bought by All Nippon Helicopter (ANH) who are contracted exclusively to Nippon Housou Kyokai (NHK) and conducts news gathering missions for them. I guess a lot of the aerial footage we have been seeing on television recently was shot from one of the two AW139 owned by ANH. I feel sorry for the men flying those helicopters.