Pragmatism: US sets eyes on Japanese MH-53 helos

From the archives: a Japanese Sikorsky MH-53, seen in November 2000 at Iwakuni. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
From the archives: a Japanese Sikorsky MH-53, seen in November 2000 at Iwakuni. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Some news seems suprising at first, but isn’t at second sight. According to several news reports this week, the US Navy has eyes for a number of former Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Sikorsky MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters. The US is looking to use the helicopters for spare parts for its own MH-53 fleet, which is used extensively in virtually every conflict with US involvement.

Japan bought eleven MH-53E – also known as Sikorsy S-80 – for mine sweeping duties, with the contract being awarded in 1987 and first deliveries taking place in 1989. Since 2006, the MH-53Es are being replaced MCH-101 Merlin. The huge Sikorsky helo is now nog longer used by the JMSDF, and has become object of US desire.

Negotations about the sale are said the be ongoing. The move is criticized as an example of problematic US defence spending, but in reality is a pragmatic approach to the problem that arizes following the heavy use of the helicopters by the US. The plan is reminiscent of the sale in 2011of 74 ex-Royal Air Force Harrier (RAF) jump jets to the US, with a fresh supply of spare parts for the US Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8B Harrier fleet being the main objective.

In Japan, the MH-53E were in use with 111 Kokutai (squadron), based at Iwakuni airbase near Hiroshima.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest