The impetus for this…is likely twofold: one, the increased aggressiveness and continued growth in the PLAN sub fleet…two, the recognition that while the SH-60J/K is still in production, it is no longer state-of-the-art.” – Matt CarisTOKYO, JAPAN — In response to increasingly quiet Chinese submarines in littoral waters, Japan’s Ministry of Defense is under pressure to modernize its anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Defense News reports that the options under consideration include either an upgrade of the SH-60K Seahawk helicopters, produced by MHI, or an open competition for a new fleet of rotorcraft.
The SH-60K is equipped with a “HQS-103 dipping sonar (that) is at least a generation behind state-of-the art systems for detection of threats in littoral waters” along with other handicaps born of being an older system. Therefore, if the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force decides to pursue a more long-term focused solution, the competition could be thrown open. In that case “Caris said the procurement would probably pit the SH-60K against two later-generation frames in the shape of Lockheed Martin’s SH-60R Seahawk or the NH-90 backed by the European Airbus group.”
Click here to read: “Japan Weighs Options To Boost ASW Skills”