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Kawasaki OH-1

Light scout and observation helicopter

Kawasaki OH-1 helicopter

Only 14 Kawasaki OH-1 light scout and observation helicopters were delivered to Japanese army

Entered service 2001
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 12 m
Main rotor diameter 11.6 m
Height 3.4 m
Weight (empty) 2.4 t
Weight (maximum take off) 4 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Mitsubishi TS1-10 turboshafts
Engine power 2 x 888 hp
Maximum speed 277 km/h
Range 550 km
Combat radius 200 km
Cannon -
Missiles 4 x Toshiba Type 91 short-range air-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles
Other rocket pods


   From the mid-1980s the Japan Defence Agency (JDA), began to consider a successor to the OH-6D light helicopters currently in service with the Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force. It was decided to procure an indigenous type for the scout/reconnaissance roles. In 1992 Kawasaki was selected as prime contractor with 60 percent of the programme, the balance being allocated equally between Fuji and Mitsubishi. The three companies established the Observation Helicopter Engineering Team to develop the programme, on which detailed work began in 1992.

   The resulting OH-1, nicknamed Ninja, is a conventional machine that is relatively small and of typical gunship helicopter configuration. Its structure comprises, by weight, 40 per cent carbonfibre-reinforced plastics, and it features a fenestron type tail rotor.

   Each crew member has two LCD colour multi-function displays, and the gunner has a head-up display. The mission avionics include a trainable roof-mounted Kawasaki package (forward of the main rotor) with a Fujitsu thermal imager, NEC colour TV camera and NEC laser rangefinder. Protection is enhanced by the installation of an infra-red jammer on the helicopter's spine to rear of the main gearbox.

   The first of six prototypes made its initial flight on 6 August 1996, and the first of a possible 150 to 200 OH-1s was delivered to the JGSDF on 24 January 2000. A total of 14 OH-1s has been ordered for delivery by 2001. The JDA may revise the OH-1 to meet its AH-X light attack helicopter requirement. This would probably feature MTR-390 or T800 engines, allowing the introduction of a heavier weapons load and revised mission avionics. The projected designation of the AH-X production model is AH-2.


Video of the OH-1 Ninja observation helicopter


Kawasaki OH-1 helicopter

Kawasaki OH-1 helicopter

Kawasaki OH-1 helicopter

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