Aviation Safety

MSDF Helicopter Collision Prompts Safety Measures After Fatal Accident

Main image to the post MSDF Helicopter Collision Prompts Safety Measures After Fatal Accident

Collision of Two Maritime Self-Defense Force Helicopters

The Japanese Defense Ministry has concluded that the collision of two Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) helicopters in April, which resulted in the deaths of all eight personnel aboard, was caused by a combination of factors.

The investigation revealed that the crew of both helicopters failed to maintain a proper lookout, leading them to misjudge the distance between the aircraft and take no evasive action until the moment of impact. The helicopters were conducting a nighttime drill to detect submarines when the collision occurred.

Communication breakdowns between the officers in charge of each helicopter also contributed to the accident. The officers failed to take preventive measures, such as ordering the helicopters to fly at different altitudes, despite the potential for a close encounter.

In response to the findings, the Defense Ministry has implemented several measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. These include installing proximity warning devices on the helicopters, ensuring that crews maintain a proper lookout, and requiring officers in charge to communicate effectively and maintain separation between aircraft when necessary.

"Taking the investigation results seriously, we will make every possible effort to take countermeasures, with a determination not to cause any single casualty," Defense Minister Minoru Kihara stated at a press conference.

Following the accident, drills involving multiple SH-60K helicopters were suspended. However, as of Tuesday, these drills have been allowed to resume, albeit with stricter safety protocols in place.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09