Philippines to receive Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey helicopters from Japan


A UH-1J Huey of the JGSDF. Photo c/o Nizuki Chousadan

The Philippine Army’s Commanding General Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr confirmed to the press on 19 December 2022 that the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD) is willing to hand-over some of their Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey combat utility helicopters, once they start replacing them in the next few years.

Lt. Gen. Brawner made this statement to Philippine news outlet when asked about the improving defense relations of the Philippines and Japan.

The helicopters are expected to be operated by the Philippine Army’s Army Aviation “Hiraya” Regiment, which currently operates smaller MBB Bo-105 and Robinson R-44 Raven II light helicopters that are being used to train and expand its helicopter pilot pool.

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) currently operates the Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey, which are scheduled to be replaced by the new Subaru-Bell UH-2 helicopter starting 2024. 

The Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey were built from 1993 to 1998 under license in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries (now Subaru Corporation) by combining the original Bell 205 used as basis for the UH-1H Huey, and features from the more powerful Bell 212 helicopter.

It uses the Kawasaki-Lycoming T53-L-703 turboshaft engine, which is more powerful than the original Lycoming T53-L-13 used in the UH-1H, while also equipped a vibration-reduction system, infrared countermeasures launchers and night vision goggle-compatible cockpit as standard.

The UH-1J also uses a different transmission, main rotor and nose taken from the Bell 212, and a tail rotor from the Bell AH-1S Cobra attack helicopter.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines believes that this commitment by Japan would boost their chances of selling the Subaru-Bell UH-2 to the Philippine Army, which is expected to be in the market for new combat utility helicopters by 2024 or 2025.

The Subaru-Bell UH-2, which is a military version of the Bell 412EPX, is expected to compete in the Philippine Army competition against the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk built in Poland by Sikorsky’s Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec.


[2] MaxDefense Philippines

[3] Key Aero

Philippines to receive Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey helicopters from Japan Philippines to receive Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey helicopters from Japan Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on January 09, 2023 Rating: 5

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