Airbus Helicopters offered an all-new design for Japan’s new UH-X utility military helicopter and has not given up on taking over development of that 150-aircraft program from the selected contractors.
|Airbus aims to convince Japan that its bid with Kawasaki to replace Bell/Fuji UH-1Js is still the best one, despite a contract award to competitors.
Photo courtesy of Los688, Wikimedia Commons
Japan picked Fuji Heavy Industries and Bell Helicopter July 17 for the $3 billion contract to develop a replacement for its Ground Self-Defense Force’s Bell/Fuji UH-1Js, rejecting Airbus’ bid with Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The winners proposed a Bell 412EPI derivative, deliveries of which are to begin in 2021.
To offset development costs of the customized helicopter, Japan plans to sell the UH-X to other nations.
On Sept. 21, CEO Guillaume Faury said Airbus and Kawasaki had proposed an 8,000- to 11,000-lb aircraft that is “an all-new platform and is not based on any already existing helicopter.” Faury corrected media reports that the bid was based on the H160, saying it “was not a derivative of the H160.” Faury said the new helicopter would be designed for the UH-X requirements and “for commercial applications all over the world.”
He added that he hasn’t given up on the bid. “We had the right approach and the right offer,” the CEO said. He added that he believes the company “can convince the military of Japan to reconsider what we have offered in terms of operational capabilities, cost of operation and the opportunity for the Japanese industry to continue to be part of the helicopter industry around the world.”