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Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja


Reconnaissance / Observation Helicopter (2000)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Image courtesy pf Wikipedia user los688 via Wikipedia; released to the public domain
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Image from the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

Jump-to: Specifications

Kawasaki designed and developed the OH-1 as an indigenous replacement for the Hughes OH-6 in the reconnaissance helicopter role.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/28/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
For decades the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has made use of the American Hughes OH-6 "Cayuse" light observation helicopter in the reconnaissance role. Better known as the "Loach", the nimble single-engined aircraft served in similar roles with a bevy of nations around the globe. The OH-6 was produced in Japan locally under the Kawasaki brand label as the OH-6J and the follow-up OH-6D. The former was based on the Loach whilst the latter stemmed from the similar Hughes 500D model. Some 387 examples were produced by Kawasaki of which around 100 300 are in active operational service as of this writing (2012).

Thought eventually gave way to design and development of an indigenous light scout helicopter solution in the 1980s and this gave rise to the OH-X helicopter program. As competitions go, the program was responded to by Fuji, Kawasaki and Mitsubishi of which all submitted proposals. Ultimately, Japanese authorities selected the Kawasaki submission as the winner of the OH-X competition in September of 1992, to which it ordered prototypes under the XOH-1 designation. The aircraft has since garnered the nickname of "Ninja". Kawasaki represented the prime contractor of the XOH-1 with subcontractors Fuji ad Mitsubishi in tow (each managing a 20% stake in the project).

First flight of the XOH-1 pilot vehicle was on August 6th, 1996. five more prototypes then followed and these successfully completed initial testing the next year. After successfully completing the required tests, the JSDF formally adopted the XOH-1 as the OH-1 (the designation change coming in late 1996), scheduling serial production to begin in 1998. At the outset, the JGSDF suggested their procurement order maybe several hundred aircraft though this may not be realized amidst current budgetary constraints. As such, deliveries of OH-1s have been slow with less than 50 aircraft completed to date (2012).

The OH-1 showcases an all-modern appearance and utilizes well-established design concepts found on other military helicopters worldwide. The aircraft is crewed by two specialists seated in tandem with the pilot in the rear elevated cockpit and the weapons officer in the lower front cockpit. The nose assembly is short and well-contoured for good vision for the pilot and efficient aerodynamic qualities. As the pilots are seated in tandem, the fuselage can be made very slim and thusly promote a smaller forward profile. The engines are fitted in nacelles to either side of the fuselage, well aft of the cockpits. The four-bladed main rotor assembly sits low against the top of the fuselage while the tail rotor is shrouded in a Fenestron assembly which helps to reduce its noise output. The empennage is essentially a stem emanating from the main fuselage bulk with horizontal planes set to either side of the tail just ahead of the Fenestron fitting. Atop the tail rotor is the vertical tail fin. Wing stub assemblies are fitted to either side of the fuselage just aft of the pilot's cockpit. These can support four hardpoints for various ordnance layouts or external fuel stores. Armament is variable and can be a mix of missiles, rocket pods, cannon pods and gun pods as needed. The OH-1 does not make use of a chin-mounted turret or optics fairing common to other military helicopter designs. There does exist an optics blister above and behind the pilot's cockpit, just forward of the main rotor mast. The undercarriage is consistent with other military helicopter offerings, presenting two single-wheeled main landing gear legs extending from the forward fuselage sides and a single-wheeled tail unit at the base of the tail rotor assembly. Wire cutters (required in low-level urban flight) are noted ahead of the optical sight mount and under the cockpit floor.

Internally, the OH-1 sports some advanced technology. It relies on nearly 40% of its airframe being built from composites for a lighter overall weight. However, the blades are protected against 20mm shells. The cockpit is all-glass with a LCD monitors and dual HOCAS control systems. The pilot's cockpit is given a HUD (Heads-Up Display) that relays pertinent mission and performance parameters without the operator having to remove his view from the action ahead. In all, the OH-1 supplies the Japanese Army with a modern and capable combat support system which can work in conjunction with its existing fleet of Hughes AH-64DJP Apache and Bell Ah-1 Cobra attack helicopters in the armed scout or support roles.

The Kawasaki OH-1 is being used to succeed Hughes OH-6 light observation units in service with the JGSDF.

March 2019 - The OH-1 Ninja is in the running to satisfy a Japanese Defense requirement for a New Attack Helicopter (NAH).

March 2019 - After a three-year grounding period, which resulted in considerable upgrading plan for the Mitsubishi TSI turboshaft engines, the OH-1 series is being returned to active duty with the JGSDF.

Specifications



Service Year
2000

Origin
Japan national flag graphic
Japan

Status
ACTIVE
In Active Service.
Crew
2

Production
40
UNITS


Kawasaki - Japan
National flag of modern Japan Japan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.


Length
39.4 ft
(12.00 m)
Width/Span
38.1 ft
(11.60 m)
Height
12.5 ft
(3.80 m)
Empty Wgt
5,401 lb
(2,450 kg)
MTOW
8,818 lb
(4,000 kg)
Wgt Diff
+3,417 lb
(+1,550 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja production variant)
Installed: 2 x Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) TS1-M-10 turboshaft engines developing 890 horsepower each driving a four-blade main rotor and fenestron shrouded tail rotor.
Max Speed
173 mph
(278 kph | 150 kts)
Ceiling
16,076 ft
(4,900 m | 3 mi)
Range
336 mi
(540 km | 1,000 nm)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
Variable - dependent upon mission type. Includes a mix of air-to-surface missiles, rocket pods, gun pods, and cannon pods as required.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft machine gun pod
Graphical image of an aircraft cannon pod
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4


XOH-1 - Prototype Designation; six examples produced.
OH-1 - Base Series Designation.
AH-2 - Proposed dedicated attack helicopter variant based in the OH-1; not furthered.


General Assessment
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
68
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (173mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Design Balance
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (40)
40
36183
44000
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
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