Please click on any of the coded models listed on the pages below to learn more about its background and why it came into being, its special features, its specifications and its production history. The following lineage charts are organized in groups:

S-80 Helicopter


S80 1
Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) S-80M-1 Airborne Mine Countermeasures helicopter


Sikorsky Aircraft obtained a Department of State License to offer the CH-53E Super Stallion and the MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters to approved foreign countries. The export designation for the CH-53E was the S-80E and the MH-53E was the S-80M.  Then only sale under this license was for 11 S-80M-1 helicopters to the Government of Japan via Mitsubishi International Corporation, Sikorsky’s Representative for aircraft sales in Japan to the Japanese Defense Agency.

The initial requirement for S-80M-1 helicopters for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). was 12 helicopters. Lengthy negotiations during a time of high inflation escalated costs resulted in funding for only 11 helicopters.

The Japanese Sea Dragons are very similar to their US Navy equivalents, but lacked the inflight refueling probe. The Japanese Sea Dragons have a secondary transport capability and may be assigned disaster-relief missions, which are a high priority for the Self-Defense Forces.  The MH-53EJ helicopters are operated by the 111 Kokutai at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.  Starting in March 2006 the S-80M-1helicopters are being incrementally replaced by 12 MCH-101 Merlin helicopters.


S-80M-1 Model Designations


Model No.





Sea Dragon

Airborne Minesweeping


S-80M-1 Development Timeline

  • 1987 Contract award for 11 S-80M-1 helicopters
  • January 13, 1989. Delivery of the first S-80M-1 helicopter



(MH-53E) Sea Dragon

The JMSDF MH-53E was derived from the U.S Navy MH-53E for the Airborne Mine CounterMeasures (AMCM) mission.  The MH-53E was capable of carrying up to 55 troops or a 16 ton payload 50 nautical miles.  The fuel capacity of the MH-53E was increased to 3,196 gallons in large sponsons to increase tow mission time.  The MH-53E was capable of towing a variety of mine sweeping/countermeasures systems including the Magnet Mine Sweeping System (Mk-105/Edo ALQ-166), the Mk 103 mechanical mine sweeping system, the AQS-20A underwater towed body which contains a high resolution, side-looking sonar system used for minehunting along the ocean bottom, and the Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS- Sea Fox) (AN/ALQ-232).  The principle difference between the U.S. Navy helicopters and the JMSDF helicopters was the deletion of the Air Refueling capability. A radome was installed on the nose of the helicopter in the fuselage refueling probe port.


S80 2
S-80M-1 helicopter (JMSDF MH-53E)

General Arrangement Drawing


S80 3
S-80M-1 3-view drawing

General Characteristics and Performance S-80M-1 (JMSDF MH-53E)

Standard Day, Sea Level

Maximum speed (Vne)

170 kts           315 km/hr

Service ceiling

18,500 ft           5,640 m

Rate of Climb with 25,000 lb payload

2,500 ft/min      12.7 m/s


Maximum takeoff gross weight

73,500 lbs    33,300 kg

Weight empty

36,336 lbs    16,482 kg

Maximum fuel load

3,196 gal      12,098 ltr

Useful Load

37,164 lbs     16,857kg

Maximum External Load ( Cargo Hook)

32,000 lbs    14,515 kg


Crew seating capacity


Seating capacity

Up to 36 passengers
55 with center seats

Standard Day at Sea Level

General Electric T-64-GE-496  (3) Contingency Power

5,030 shp   3,750 kw


Main rotor diameter (blade tip circle)

79’                 24.8 m

Tail rotor diameter (blade tip circle)

20’                   6.1 m

Fuselage length

73’ 4”            22.3 m

Length over-all (including rotors)

99’ 0.5”         30.2 m

Height over-all

17’  5.5”          5.3 m

Main landing gear tread

15' 6"               5.8 m

Production History

Sikorsky Aircraft S-80M-1 production consisted of 11 helicopters.

Additional Information:

Video from inside JMSDF MH-53E flying formation with MCH-101,

Video of Flight of 3 JMSDF MH-53E helicopters

NOTE: Links in this document to websites outside the Archives site are provided to supplement the information provided.  A reference to these sites does not constitute an endorsement or a confirmation of the historical accuracy of the information by the Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives, Inc.


Prepared by Vinny Devine
October 2013




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