Mitsubishi SH-60K: The workhorse of the JMSDF

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Image from JMSDF Homepage

SH-60K

Hello guys, in this post I am going to suggest the SH-60K, a successor of the SH-60J ASW/SAR helicopter for the JMSDF. Currently the Japanese Heli tree is stuck with very little vehicles due to the JGSDF utilizing only a handful of attack-helicopters. Therefore, I would like to propose a vehicle from the JMSDF which does have Anti-Vehicle capabilities to improve the vehicle lineup while giving the Japanese Heli tree a taste of originality.
Also, since the MH-60L DAP has been added in game, the model should be relatively easy to work on compared to making a new one from scratch.

History

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The SH-60K is an upgraded version of the SH-60J. It was developed to replace the SH-60Js that would reach its end of service life at 2005. Upgrades were made in order to respond to the trend towards quieter, anechoic, and faster submarines while also being able to keep up with the much-diversified SDF’s missions such as disaster response.

Prototype development for the SH-60K had started from 1997 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 2 prototypes were delivered to the Japanese Defense Agency (now known as the Ministry of Defense). After testing by the government, its adoption was admitted in March 2005 and entered service in August 2005. By 2023, the SDF has 73 SH-60Ks with 10 SH-60Js.

The SH-60K has numbers of upgrades from the SH-60J but the biggest is its Main-Rotor-Blades. The blade is made out of composite materials except for the tips and leading edges which are made out of metal. The wing tip shape has also been changed for better aerodynamic characteristics when hovering. The armaments have also been upgraded and can be equipped with AGM-114M Hellfire II missiles and Type 97 Torpedoes too. Also, AN/AAR-60 MAWS and AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser Systems had been equipped to improve its survivability. In order to compensate for the weight increase, the engine was upgraded to the T700-IHI-401C2. These upgrades have increased the Designed Max Weight and cabin size (30cm in length, 15cm in height)

On December 2023, completion of development of the SH-60L, an upgraded version of the SH-60K had been announced by the MoD.

Photos

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Image from JMSDF Homepage

SH-60K fireing a Hellfire Missile

Image from JMSDF Homepage

SH-60K hovering over a destroyer

Right front view of SH-60K

Left front view of SH-60K

Wing-tip of SH-60K

Left side view of SH-60K. Radar, MAD and FLIR can be observed well.

Dipping sonar can be observed in cabin well.

Hellfire launchers can be seen very well.

Specifications

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Crew: 4
Length (at rotor spin): 19.8m
Length (without rotor): 15.9m
Width (when rotor folded): 3.3m
Height: 5.4m
Main rotor width: 16.4m
Tail rotor width: 3.4m
Engine: GE/IHI T700-401C×2 (2055shp each)
Takeoff Gross Weight: 10650kg
Designed Max Weight: 10900kg

Performance

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Max speed: 139kt
Range: 900km
Service ceiling: 4000m

Equipment

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HPS-105B Radar
HQS-104 Dipping Sonar
AN/ASQ-81 MAD
AN/AAS-44-N1 FLIR
Laser designator
AAR-60 MAWS
ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System

Armaments

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2× AGM-114M Hellfire II missiles
2× Mk.46 Torpedoes
2× Type 97 Torpedoes
1× Type 67 150kg depth charge
1× Type 74 7.62mm machine gun (requires sonar removal)

I think that the two torpedoes may not need to be implemented, though it can be ever if modern ships equipped with helicopters would enter the game.

Sources

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SH-60K (航空機) - Wikipedia
SH-60K (航空機) - Wikipedia
海上自衛隊の装備品一覧 - Wikipedia
海上自衛隊の装備品一覧 - Wikipedia
https://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/equipment/rotorcraft/patrol/sh60k/
哨戒機「SH-60K」|航空機(回転翼)|装備品|海上自衛隊 〔JMSDF〕 オフィシャルサイト
新型哨戒(しょうかい)ヘリコプター(SH−60K)
200 防衛白書 コラム 新型哨戒(しょうかい)ヘリコプター(SH-60K) 防衛省
三菱重工 | SH-60K哨戒ヘリコプタ
三菱重工 | SH-60K哨戒ヘリコプタ
https://www.mod.go.jp/atla/pinup/pinup051222_01.pdf
哨戒ヘリコプター(SH-60L)の開発完了について 防衛省
https://www.mod.go.jp/j/press/wp/wp2023/pdf/R05shiryo.pdf
令和5年度防衛白書 P.107 資料11 主要航空機の保有数・性能諸元 防衛省
https://warp.da.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/11339364/www.mod.go.jp/j/approach/hyouka/seisaku/results/13/jizen/honbun/06.pdf
平成13年度政策評価書(事前の事業評価) 防衛省
https://www.mhi.co.jp/technology/review/pdf/425/425208.pdf
山下尚之; 矢崎忠; 福川慎一; 松田剛; 佐藤隆「SH-60K哨戒ヘリコプタの開発」『三菱重工技報』第42巻、第5号、三菱重工業、208-211頁、2005年。

小野正春「海自SH-60プログレス・リポート : 初飛行に成功したXSH-60Lにいたる軌跡と今後の進化」『航空ファン』第70巻、第8号、文林堂、56-59頁、2021年8月。 NAID 40022630762。

File:JMSDF SH-60K(8438) right front view at JASDF Miho Air Base May 27, 2018 02.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

2 Likes

Massive +1, The japanese (and British) Heli trees need something new as they haven’t had anything new for a very long time now and are the smallest with only 4 Helis, and this would be a fairly simple and unique addition

1 Like

As much as i would like to see these specifically the SH-60 family for the jmsdf…they are just not very suitable with their armament…i believe these type of helicopters will be reserved only as ai/player controled launched helicopters from modern ships when we reach that ERA similar to how right now we have float planes we can launch on ww2 ships.

Either way good suggestions +1

With 2x Hellfires, it’d be good for 9.7/10.0.

2 Likes

I feel like this would be a good squadron helicopter for Japan.

Great, now you jinxed it

It can carry up to 4 hellfires

2 Likes

From what I had read so far, I couldn’t find reliable information that confirms that.
Can you tell me where you can find that information?

From what I’ve seen, some sources indicate 4 hellfires

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image

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And in addition, I remember the interview of the JSDF officer, who indicated that the SH-60 can carry 4 Hellfires, they simply abandoned this due to the danger of damaging the lower row of missiles on the deck during landing.

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Is this not enough? It’s possible, but I’m afraid it’s necessary to prove here not that the SH-60 can carry 4 missiles, but that it can only carry 2 missiles. The SH-60 was licensed from an American design that supported this feature. Therefore, in order to prove the impossibility of carrying 4 Hellfires, opponents, according to the principle of Occam’s razor, will need to prove that in some of the upgrades the corresponding equipment was deliberately removed from Japanese side.

2 Likes

I don’t have any information that proves the impossibility of carrying 4 Hellfires so, I guess we might be able to give it 4 Hellfires?

Also while researching on this topic, I found this image on twitter.

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Find the tweet here

This image indicates that there are some SH-60Ks equipped with the M299 Launcher though in a 2 rail configuration. I thought if only two missiles were necessary, they would be chuck it on to the 4 rail launcher and just ignore the empty rails.
I’m not really familiar with missile launchers so I would love to ask someone if it is possible to make the 4 railed M299 Launcher into a 2 launcher by removing the 2 lower launchers.

Anyways thanks for the info!!

Different SH-60 variant but …

2 Likes

There are launchers for 2 and 4 missiles, both are in service in Japan. You could see the option for 4 ATGMs on the AH-64DJP. If you do not fill the bottom row of hangers, this does not eliminate the risk of damage to them, and there is little point in moving empty cells. As far as we know, both configurations for 2 and 4 ATGMs are completely interchangeable; there is no helicopter in nature capable of carrying only 2 or only 4 ATGMs due to the features of the interface.

1 Like

In retrospect, perhaps I did not fully explain the reason. The fact is that these are deck-based helicopters, therefore, with a storm at sea, the deck swings significantly (pitching/rolling), rises and falls and generally moves, it`s creates significant difficulties for helicopters to take on/off. It was precisely because of fears of damage during landing during rough seas that they subsequently switched to mountings for 2 Hellfires.

By the way, the SH-60 carries a modern system for automatically landing a helicopter on the deck, which is designed to significantly reduce the workload on pilots and eliminate the human factor when landing in particularly difficult weather conditions. Nevertheless, it was still decided that it would be more reliable to use smaller mounts. I suspect that this was done as part of the Japanese practice of facilitating and reducing the costs of operating military equipment in peacetime, and in case of war, mounts for 4 ATGMs would be returned, but these are just guesses.

If this helicopter can carry 4x Hellfires, then why not?

honestly playing naval and having a helicopter torpedo you would be funny, even though AA would chew the heli to peices

Given an effective range of 15+ km and a speed of 40 knots, the helicopter would have a chance of surviving the attack, and this attack would probably be effective given the active/passive acoustic homing. It’s just that the warhead is quite modest, about ~45 kg, and one helicopter is capable of simultaneously carrying two such torpedoes.

Helis with hellfires start at 10.3 Br. Since this will only carry 4x hellfires, she will also be 10.3

The only sad part and concern is that I won’t be able to use it with ease at 10.3 due to no line ups. Will either force my 9.0-7 tanks to face 11.3 tanks or just use it with my 11.0 line up and the AH-64DJP already exist there. There is the F-1 and Type 81 C to pair them with, but Type 81 C will soon go from 10.0 to 11.0. That’s about the only thing I’m worried about. Still hoping to see it for sure, will be fun to use.

modern torpedo’s can sort of track themselves right? wouldn’t this have those or would it have WW2 era torpedo’s so it was fair

The Hellfires on this is the M variant, which only has an HE warhead. Not an HEAT one like other Hellfires. So, might have a lower BR?

Oh, how effective are those?