Japan to Replace U-125A Planes with Satellite-based Radio Equipment for SAR Missions

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 12:28 PM, January 3, 2023
  • 1429
Japan to Replace U-125A Planes with Satellite-based Radio Equipment for SAR Missions
JASDF U-125A @via Twitter

Japan’s government wants to phase out the Air Self-Defense Force’s U-125A search and rescue (SAR) planes with new satellite-based radio equipment to locate pilots in distress.

According to the ASDF, a total of 26 U-125A jets are currently deployed at air rescue units across the country, including in Hokkaido, Miyagi, Akita, Niigata, Ishikawa and Shizuoka, Fukuoka, Miyazaki and Okinawa prefectures.

The U-125A aircraft relay information including the location and weather conditions to a rescue helicopter when people in need of rescue are found and guiding the chopper to the site, as well as dropping survival kits for such people until they are rescued. They are also used in disaster relief activities and other emergencies.

The government has also promoted the decommissioning of U-125A planes under its defense buildup program. Instead, new satellite-based radio equipment to accurately locate pilots and others who have ejected from aircraft will be introduced, as per the Japan Times.

There could be a risk, however, that the device would not work properly due to the impact of the plane crash. Some people within the SDF have voiced worries, with one questioning the planned decommissioning of the U-125A planes, which are mobilized as the first response for urgent life-saving missions.

“We will be fully prepared to ensure that there are no problems in search and rescue operations after the decommissioning (of the U-125A fleet),” Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told a news conference. “We will continue to fully engage in disaster relief as an important mission through our fundamentally strengthened defense power under the new national security strategy.”

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