Grounded Japanese Ninja helicopters to resume flying after crash

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) resumed flight operations of its OH-1 Ninja light observation helicopter on 1 March after the fleet was grounded following the crash in February 2015, according to the Scramble Magazine.

A statement issued by Scramble Magazine said that flights of all Japanese OH-1 Ninja helicopters were suspended after the crash of serial 32634 on 17 February 2015.

“37 Ninjas were stored at various places when faulty engine parts were discovered. It took five years to address this and replace the engine components,” said in a statement.

The OH-1 is a light observation helicopter produced by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF). The helicopter is a successor to the OH-6D helicopter of the JGSDF.

Sources familiar with the matter say the JGSDF initially planned to acquire 180 to 200 OH-1 Ninja helicopters.

The media outlet reports that the most certainly re-training pilots and observers will be the priority.

Also, Scramble magazine noticed that it is also good news for Kawasaki as it is offering to modify the OH-1 into an attack version as a replacement for the aging AH-1S fleet.

In addition to its use an observation helicopter, it can also be armed with various munitions to directly participate in combat; such weapons include a limited quantity of anti-tank missiles or air-to-air missiles for self-defense purposes. Several variants of the OH-1 have been proposed, these have included derivatives of the type to serve as an attack helicopter as well as an aborted project to develop utility helicopter based on OH-1.

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