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Helicopter Focus ~ Japan Ground Self-Defence Force

Paratroopers line up to board a trio of UH-1J helicopters of the JGSDF at Camp Narashino - the UH-1J was produced under licence by Fuji Heavy Industries (now Subaru) [© GA]

The 1st Airborne Brigade of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) is an elite formation whose speciality is parachute and heliborne operations, writes Gordon Arthur.

In a recent feature – Paratrooper Focus ~ Japan Ground Self-Defence Force – we concentrated primarily on Japan’s elite Paras jumping from fixed wing assets but promised to follow up with an album of Japanese helicopter images which we believe will be of interest to our rotary wing enthusiasts.

A typical Japanese Paratrooper, Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Australia, July 2017 [© GA]

Japan’s military forces are intended to be purely defensive in nature and the 1st Airborne Brigade is one of only a few JGSDF units that could be considered as having an offensive capability.

The following photographs were captured on various exercises and displays over a ten year period, between August 2008 and January 2018, and show a selection of both transport and support helicopters used by Japan’s Self-Defence Forces in support of 1st Airborne Brigade.

{ images © Gordon Arthur }

Library image of another UH-1J helicopter – a scout with a Honda XLR250R motorbike (now cast) has just disembarked it via a ramp while the loadmaster turns his attention to a second motorbike [© GA]

An AH-1S attack helicopters fire live rounds in the background as soldiers of the 1st Airborne Brigade fast-rope from a UH-60JA helicopter near Mount Fuji [© GA]

This Toyota HMV (High Mobility Vehicle) has just unloaded from a CH-47J helicopter of the JGSDF – the Japanese 4×4 HMV, introduced in 1993, is powered by a 4.1-litre turbo-diesel engine [© GA]

Paras descend ropes trailing from a CH-47J – a variant produced under license by Kawasaki Heavy Industries – note the mortar team with the RT 120 heavy mortar of 120mm calibre in the background [© GA]

The first CH-47J was completed for the JGSDF in 1988 – the service also fields the CH-47JA with nose-mounted radar and enlarged fuel tanks [© GA]

This pair of CH-47J helicopters is carrying Komatsu-manufactured 4×4 Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) as underslung loads at the Fuji Training Area [© GA]

The most capable attack helicopter in the JGSDF fleet is the AH-64DJP Apache, built under licence by Fuji Heavy Industries – Japan only bought 13 Apaches, of which one crashed on 5th February 2018 [© GA]

Paratroopers are lifted beneath a CH-47J Chinook using a Special Patrol Insertion / Extraction (SPIE) system – this photo was taken at the foot of Mount Fuji at the annual Fuji Firepower demonstration [© GA]

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