Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja is a Japanese attack helicopter developed in 1996 by the Kawasaki Aerospace Company.
The design of a combat attack helicopter of the Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja model began by Japanese aircraft manufacturers in connection with the need to develop a new, more efficient air vehicle capable of replacing the model of the American Hughes OH-6 Cayuse helicopter with its functionality. The helicopter previously in service with the Japanese army could no longer cope effectively with the assigned tasks, and its more than 25-year-old age indicated that over the next 10 years, this aircraft would need to be replaced.
The first work on the design of the attack helicopter Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja began by Japanese aircraft manufacturers in the early 90s of the last century. Initially, it was assumed that an improved multi-purpose analog would be built based on the American aircraft, however, ultimately, the Japanese Ministry of Defense proposed to create an exclusive shock version of the aircraft, which would increase its reliability in combat use and, in turn, reduce the development costs.
The Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja model made its first flight in 1996, and most of the required tests, this model was very successful, however, there were some shortcomings in the design of the aircraft, and therefore, the serial production of Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja helicopters arrived only a few years later. In 2000, the Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja helicopter was officially unveiled, and Japanese military officials revealed most of its flight performance.
Even though the Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja helicopter qualifies as an attack aircraft, this model has several limitations in its application, in particular, the aircraft is effective in its use only against armored vehicles and some air targets, due to a very limited number used weapons, which includes:
- Automatic aircraft gun;
- A set of anti-tank missiles;
- A set of missiles to combat air targets.
The crew of the Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja helicopter consists of two people – a pilot and a gunner, while, since the aircraft belongs to the class of military aircraft, transportation of people and cargo on board is not possible.
Among other things, the Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja helicopter can also be used as a patrol air vehicle, which is facilitated by the very high speed and range.
The power plant of the Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja model includes two gas turbine engines of the Mitsubishi TS1-M-10 brand, each of which has a thrust of 890 hp. Thanks to the use of such aircraft engines, the helicopter can fly at distances of up to 720 kilometers at a cruising speed of 220 km \ h, with the possibility of acceleration to a speed of 280 km \ h.
There are two main options for Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja helicopters:
- Kawasaki XOH-1 Ninja is a prototype for initial testing and modernization of aircraft. Unlike the production version, it has a less productive power plant;
- Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja – The basic production version of the aircraft.
- Crew: 2 people;
- Length: 12 m.;
- Height: 3.8 m.;
- The diameter of the rotor: 11.6 m.;
- Empty helicopter mass: 2450 kg. (Depending on version);
- Maximum take-off weight: 4000 kg .;
- Cruising speed: 220 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight speed: 280 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight range: 720 km .;
- Maximum flight height: 4880 m.;
- Powerplant: 2 × Mitsubishi TS1-M-10 (Depending on version);
- Power: 2 × 890 hp (Depending on version).