The Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) will receive a new fleet of 40 advanced UH-60J search and rescue helicopters from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

Over the life of the programme, which includes 20 years of logistics support, MHI is expected to receive a total of 190bn yen ($2.3bn) from Japan’s Ministry of Defence.

The new fleet, which will be phased into service over 20 years, will replace 40 MHI-built UH-60J search and rescue helicopters in operation with the JASDF since 1991.

MHI upgrades for the aircraft include satellite communications, a collision avoidance system and a removable aerial refuelling probe.

The probe will enable all new UH-60J aircraft to refuel from tanker aircraft while airborne.

MHI will produce the aircraft under licence from United Technologies subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft.