Japan Reduces Hundreds Of Helicopters, Including AH-64D Apache And AH-1 Cobra

Japan Reduces Hundreds Of Helicopters, Including AH-64D Apache And AH-1 Cobra

Even though it is only at the planning stage, this news from Japan may be a good signal for countries seeking used defense equipment. 

Along with modernization, the Japanese Armed Forces plans to reduce some of its combat arsenal, instead, the Country of Samurai plans to increase and optimize the capabilities of its combat drone fleet.

Quoted from The Japan News – Japannews.yomiuri.co.jp, the Japanese Ministry of Defense is considering reducing nearly 200 helicopters. And what's interesting, among the hundreds of helicopters that will be reduced by the Japanese military are 12 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, 47 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and 33 Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja observation helicopters.

In addition, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy) is considering the possibility of reducing its fleet, which currently operates 33 Kawasaki P-1 patrol aircraft and 75 SH-60K (Mitsubishi H-60) maritime helicopters. 

Both functions will be taken over by the MQ-9B SeaGuardian combat reconnaissance drone made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

Japan had begun using the SeaGuardian in April 2022, and in mid-October 2022, the Japan Coast Guard announced that the drone was operational.

The MQ-9B SeaGuardian performs monitoring and law enforcement missions in the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan. The Hachinohe-based drone can also be used for search and rescue operations.


The MQ-9B SeaGuardian is 11.7 meters long and has a wingspan of 24 meters. This drone can operate at an altitude of 12,000 meters and explore up to a distance of 9,260 km. This drone is powered by a Honeywell TPE331-10 Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine with 950 hp. The maximum speed of the MQ-9B is 463 km per hour and the ability to fly continuously for 40 hours.

As a long-range reconnaissance drone, the MQ-9B SeaGuardian can be controlled by Line of Sight (Los) with the C-band frequency, or controlled over the horizon via the X-, Ku- or Ka-Band BLOS (Beyond Line of Sight) frequencies.

The MQ-9B SeaGuardian can be armed, that is, an external payload is available for mounting various types of weapons (missiles and smart bombs) weighing 1,814 kg. Overall this drone is equipped with 9 hardpoints (8 on the wings and 1 on the centerline).

The Japanese government has announced a five-year allocation of ¥43 trillion for defense spending starting in fiscal 2023. Meanwhile, plans for the decommissioning of hundreds of helicopters are expected to be included in a review of three security-related documents to be formalized this month.

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