The US Navy is in negotiations with Japan to acquire its retired fleet of MH-53E Sea Dragons, according to reports.
The Navy wants to harvest the old helicopters for parts to help keep its own Sea Dragons flying until 2025, the Virginian-Pilot said in a report.
Japan is the only other country that bought Sea Dragons back when Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation was building the mine-clearing helicopters for the U.S. Navy in the 1980s. But unlike the United States, Japan decided to retire and replace its fleet last decade as the aircraft approached the end of the planned service life.
Navy and Japanese military officials have declined to discuss the potential exchange. The arrangement, however, highlights the difficulty the Navy has faced in the upkeep of its oldest and most maintenance-intensive helicopters as they near their fourth decade in service, the report added.