Achieving maiden flight on August 6 1996, the Ninja
was Japan's first indigenous helicopter to enter serial production, although the MH2000
flew first. The JGSDF OH-X program began to be developed in late 1980s to find a replacement for the OH-6 scout fleet which were also license-built by Kawasaki. After a short test period completed by 4 prototypes XOH-1
, the first aircraft were delivered in 1998. With almost 300 OH-6D/J in service at the time, initial plans anticipated orders for almost 150 OH-1 but budget restraints limited production to 2 or 3 aircraft per year. By 2014 only 38 had been delivered with none more in the foreseeable future.