China Pushes Ahead With Military Helicopter Programmes

Recent images from the Chinese internet suggest that Beijing is making significant progress with its military helicopter development programmes.

The most recent batch of images show a Harbin Z-19 with what appears to be a mast-mounted radar system. The Z-19, which is roughly comparable to lighter attack helicopters such as the Airbus Helicopters Tiger, is capable of carrying anti-tank missiles and is usually equipped with a chin-mounted cannon.

It is unclear if the mast-mounted system is, indeed, a true radar, or merely a mock-up to test the aerodynamics of the system. Mast-mounted radars such as that carried by the Boeing AH-64E Apache Longbow greatly enhance an attack helicopter’s ability to identify and engage targets at long ranges.
 The Z-19 is one of two dedicated Chinese attack helicopter programmes. The other is the heavier CAIC WZ-10, which is roughly comparable to the Apache.
The Z-19 development follows images last month that appeared to show the first flight of a locally-developed utility helicopter closely resembling the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. The aircraft is similar in layout to the US S-70-series platform, but has a five-bladed main rotor, as opposed to four.
Following the emergence of the images, a spokesman from the Chinese defence ministry confirmed that Beijing is developing a new helicopter. Chinese military experts have unofficially labelled the new utility type as the Harbin Z-20.


The Chinese army still operates 20 S-70C that it received in the mid-1980s, 


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