Japan Completes New SH-60L Naval Combat Helicopter Development

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) have announced that it has completed the development of new SH-60L naval combat helicopter on order for Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force to succeed the Mitsubishi/Sikorsky SH-60K.

Previously known as the XSH-60L or a prototype developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the SH-60L is Japan’s latest anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter developed based on the SH-60K.

It has been manufactured to secure superiority in anti-submarine warfare against foreign submarines with improved stealth characteristics.

Although it looks similar in appearance to the existing SH-60K, improvements have been made in its onboard systems and flight performance.

The SH-60L, which is derived from the Mitsubishi (Sikorsky) SH-60, has been developed by MHI under a contract awarded by the Japanese MoD’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) in 2015.

The program intended to equip the JMSDF with enhanced, purpose-built shipborne ASW, and anti-surface warfare-capable naval helicopters.

The first flight was conducted successfully in May 2021 and MHI delivered two prototype aircraft to the MoD in September of the same year.

Since then, various confirmation tests have been conducted.

The MoD of Japan earmarked $423.5 million(60.3 billion yen)  to acquire six SH-60Ls in the fiscal year 2023 defense budget.

In addition, most recently, on December 22, 2023, the defense ministry secured $ 467 million(66.5 billion yen) to acquire an additional six SH-60Ls for the next fiscal year 2024, which starts in April.

The existing SH-60K was developed from 1997 to 2005 and received approval for military use in March of the same year.

As of March 31, 2023, the JMSDF had 73 SH-60Ks and 10 SH-60Js.

Source: https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2023/12/japan-completes-new-sh-60l-naval-combat-helicopter-development/