Mil­i­tary ex­perts laud China’s new Z-20 he­li­copter

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­

China is mak­ing gi­ant strides to­ward be­com­ing a strong he­li­copter power, mil­i­tary ex­perts said.

The com­ments came in the wake of me­dia re­ports that the na­tion’s first Chi­nese-made medium-lift util­ity he­li­copter has made its maiden flight.

“The Z-20 is sup­posed to fill a long-time void in the he­li­copter fleet of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army. Hope­fully, it will ful­fill the re­quire­ments of the PLA’s ground force and navy,” Wang Ya’nan, deputy ed­i­tor-in-chief at Aero­space Knowl­edge mag­a­zine, said on Thurs­day.

“Though we now have the ad­vanced WZ-10 and WZ-19 at­tack he­li­copters in the army, the ab­sence of a suit­able, Chi­nese-made util­ity he­li­copter ham­pers the army’s abil­ity to trans­port strike forces and carry out sup­port mis­sions.”

The sit­u­a­tion will change if the Z-20 en­ters into ser­vice soon, he said.

The Z-20 des­ig­na­tion has not been of­fi­cially con­firmed, but it is widely used by mil­i­tary en­thu­si­asts and ob­servers.

A pro­to­type of the Z-20 con­ducted its maiden flight on an uniden­ti­fied air­field in North­east China on Dec 23, Chi­nese me­dia quoted avi­a­tion sources as re­port­ing.

The he­li­copter has a take­off weight of 10 met­ric tons and is able to fly at high al­ti­tudes, the re­ports said.

Fang Bing, a mil­i­tary ex­pert from PLA Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity, said China has long been trou­bled by the lack of its own mid­size he­li­copter, and all of the he­li­copters pre­vi­ously de­vel­oped by China are ei­ther too heavy or too light to serve as tac­ti­cal util­ity he­li­copters.

The back­bone of the PLA ground force’s air trans­port team is be­lieved to be Rus­sian-made Mil Mi-17s, pur­chased from Rus­sia in the 1990s and a vari­a­tion of the Mil Mi-8, which was im­ported by China in the 1970s. China also bought 24 Siko­rsky S-70 se­ries medium-lift he­li­copters from the United States in the 1980s and as­signed them to trans­porta­tion tasks in high­alti­tude, moun­tain­ous re­gions of the Ti­bet and Xinjiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gions.

“Judg­ing from in­for­ma­tion avail­able now, the Z-20 will mainly be used as a trans­port ve­hi­cle, but be­cause it is de­signed to be ca­pa­ble of serv­ing mul­ti­ple pur­poses, it can be re­fit­ted to con­duct at­tack, ear­ly­warn­ing, re­fu­el­ing or anti-sub­ma­rine mis­sions,” Chen Hong, a re­searcher at the PLA Air Force Com­mand In­sti­tute in Bei­jing, told Bei­jing News.

“Al­though the air­craft’s ap­pear­ance bears some re­sem­blances to the US’ Siko­rsky UH-60 Black Hawk, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean the Z-20 is merely a knock­off of its US coun­ter­part,” he said. The Z-20 has a five-blade ro­tor com­pared with the UH-60’s four blades, he added.

“The ad­di­tion of a blade will en­able the Z-20 to out­per­form the UH-60 when it comes to lift force, ferry range and pay­load ca­pac­ity,” he said.

The Z-20 also has a larger cabin and a dif­fer­ent land­ing gear and tail than the UH-60, Chen added.

Wang spec­u­lated that the he­li­copter can carry about 1.5 tons of cargo in­ter­nally and up to 5 tons of cargo ex­ter­nally in a sling, en­abling China to launch low-al­ti­tude, air­borne as­saults by task forces.

He also said the he­li­copter’s de­sign­ers used sev­eral cut­tingedge tech­nolo­gies on the he­li­copter to re­duce its noise, thus im­prov­ing the stealth ca­pa­bil­ity.

e Z-20 will be able to be de­ployed aboard any air-ca­pa­ble frigate, de­stroyer, am­phibi­ous as­sault ship or air­craft car­rier and han­dle pa­trol, re­con­nais­sance, res­cue, sup­ply and anti-sub­ma­rine mis­sions, he said.

China has seen re­mark­able achieve­ments by its avi­a­tion plan­ners and de­sign­ers in the he­li­copter field since 2009, when de­liv­ery of the do­mes­ti­cally de­vel­oped WZ-10 at­tack he­li­copter to the mil­i­tary be­gan.

Two years later, the WZ-19, a light-duty re­con­nais­sance and at­tack he­li­copter, was put into ser­vice.

De­sign­ers are also work­ing on the de­vel­op­ment of nextgen­er­a­tion he­li­copters that can achieve a speed of 500 km per hour, said Lin Zuom­ing, chair­man of Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China.


Stu­dents pre­pare for the na­tional post­grad­u­ate en­trance ex­am­i­na­tion at a col­lege in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince, on Thurs­day. Wi-Fi con­nec­tions will be turned off and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sig­nals blocked at test­ing sites to pre­vent cheat­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.