Military Review

Helicopter boom in China


Aviation Ground Forces (Army Aviation), or Support Forces Aviation (ARA), is a kind of Ground Forces of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA). It is intended to act directly in the interests of ground forces and includes aviation from military districts and army groups. The main organizational unit is helicopter crews (regiments) of mixed composition. They are armed with combat (anti-tank, fire support), multi-functional transport and combat, airborne transport and special (reconnaissance, rescue, sanitary, control, electronic warfare) helicopters.

As of the beginning of the 2015, the PLA Ground Forces aviation had 150 combat helicopters, of which: Z-10 - about 90 units, Z-19 - about 60 units. They also had more than 350 units of multifunctional (multi-purpose) helicopters, including Mi-17 of various modifications - 68 units, SA342L Gazell - 8 units, Z-9A - 21 unit, Z-9W - 31 unit, Z-9WA - X-NNXX-10-1, Z-9W - 193-1, Z-340WA - X-NNXX-60-1, Z-200W - XNUMX-1, Z-XNUMX-9 - X-NNXX-XNUMX-1, X-NUMX-1 units, Z-XNUMXWZ - XNUMX units. Transport - about XNUMX units, including heavy - more than XNUMX units, medium - more than XNUMX units.

Recently, quite a large number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), mainly for reconnaissance purposes, including heavy BZK-005, BZK-009 and WZ5, medium-sized ASN-105, ASN-206, BZK-, have been adopted by the ground forces of the PLA Ground Forces aviation. 006 and BZK-007, as well as lightweight ASN-104 and W-50.


Combat helicopters are the main striking force of the PLA Ground Forces aviation. They are intended for direct air support of troops during the battle, destruction of ground targets, including armored vehicles, the destruction of enemy personnel, and escorting and transporting combat and transport assault helicopters.

Combat and partially transport-combat helicopters are armed with unguided (NUR) and guided (including anti-tank) missiles and cannon-machine guns. In the Army Aviation of the Ground Forces of the PLA there are also several medium and light transport aircraft.

The Z-10 helicopter, whose shipments to the PLA began approximately in 2010 year, was created by synthesizing modern Western and Russian technologies based on the 041 draft design developed by the Kamov Design Bureau.

Experts from the European helicopter-building companies Eurocopter and Agusta-Westland, as well as the South African company Denel, were widely involved in the development work on the project. Due to this, in terms of its tactical and technical characteristics and combat capabilities, it corresponds to the helicopters of the aforementioned companies, respectively, "Tiger", "Mongoose" and "Ruivalk". The helicopter is designed according to the classical scheme with a four-bladed main rotor and an X-shaped four-bladed tail rotor. The helicopter's crew consists of two people - a pilot and a weapons operator, deployed in a tandem scheme. The power plant includes two turboshaft (TVaD) WZ-9 engines, created on the basis of an unlicensed copy of the engine of the American company Pratt & Whitney. The power of each is 1340 hp. It is possible to install TVaD types TV3-117 or VK-2500, as well as a promising Chinese TVaD WZ-16 with a capacity of 2000 hp, created with the involvement of specialists from the company "Turbomeka".

The on-board radio-electronic equipment (avionics) of this machine is created according to the principle of "glass cabin". At the same time, the Z-10 is the first Chinese-made combat helicopter, whose controls are made in accordance with the NOTAS concept, which allows the pilot to use on-board armament without removing his hands from the controls of the helicopter. On this type of machine, for the first time, navigation and sighting equipment is integrated into a single aiming and navigation complex, which can receive data from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou satellite navigation systems. The maximum speed of the helicopter is more than 300 km / h, cruising speed is more than 270 km / h. Armament: one 23-mm cannon, up to eight HJ-10 “Red Arrow” anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), several TY-90 air-to-air guided missiles, four 57 mm and 90 unmanaged aircraft missiles (NAR) mm The helicopter is equipped with a passive defense system standard for modern combat vehicles of this type. The total combat load of the helicopter is 1500 kg.

The Z-19 light reconnaissance and combat helicopter is based on European and American technologies developed by Agusta-Westland, Eurocopter and Bell. It is intended for aerial reconnaissance, destruction of manpower and enemy equipment, strikes against ground targets, air support and escort.

Crew - two people (pilot and weapon operator), maximum speed - 280 km / h, cruising - 245 km / h, practical range - 700 km, practically ceiling - 4500 m. The helicopter is equipped with two WZ-8A turboshaft engines (Turbomeca Arriel- 1C1) horsepower 848 Each engine is equipped with a system for reducing infrared visibility. Airborne radioelectronic equipment implements the principle of "glass cabin". The body is made using stealth technology. Under the nose of the fuselage is a turret with an optoelectronic aiming system. Guided and unguided air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, NAR and cannon-armament containers can be mounted on four points of suspension.

In the near future, a new Z-20 multi-purpose helicopter, created by copying Sikorsky-developed civilian helicopters S-70C-2 purchased in the United States, is expected to enter service with the PLA. In terms of its combat capabilities and tactical and technical characteristics, it is in fact an analogue of the famous American UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, designed on the basis of the aforementioned civilian version. The only difference between the Chinese machine and the S-70C-2 / UH-60 is that it is equipped with a five-blade main rotor and has several large dimensions of the cargo-passenger cabin. The payload mass of the Z-20 helicopter is presumably up to 9 thousand kg (in the cargo and passenger cabin approximately 1 thousand kg, the rest is on the external suspension). The machine can carry up to 15 fighters with weapons and ammunition.


It should be noted that at present in China there is an increased interest in helicopter-related topics. Together with the Russian specialists, it is planned to create a heavy class helicopter. Very ambitious projects are carried out by Chinese aircraft manufacturers on their own: R & D on the creation of a heavy convertiplane like the American V-22 "Osprey" with four-blade propellers of large diameter is in full swing. At the same time, a high-speed helicopter is being created, according to the layout scheme similar to the American S-97 “Raider” machine developed by Sikorsky, but having large dimensions, roughly corresponding to the Russian Mi-8 helicopter. The indicated aircraft, judging by the photographs and related materials of Chinese sites, is made according to a coaxial scheme with a four-blade main rotor and two multi-blade propellers placed in the annular channels located in the rear part of the fuselage. It can be assumed that the helicopter will have a speed of more than 400 km / h.

Despite the serious efforts made by China in the development of aviation technology, the Chinese Armed Forces are still seriously lagging behind the leading technological and military powers of the modern world, both in quality and in the number of the PLA ground forces that are in service with the ground forces. As a result, at the present stage, Chinese army aviation as a whole does not seem to be able to effectively solve the tasks assigned to it.
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  1. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 5 December 2015 07: 46
    Well, all the Chinese dragons are copying. And the helicopters went. It will not be enough for such an army. Yes, and copying - will never catch up with the developer. School is needed. But she especially smiled that they were trying to copy the Sikorsky S-97 high-speed helicopter! Which has not yet been adopted. And on which there are still a lot of questions on the aerodynamics of high-speed flight. The speeds of the ends of the rotor blades must not exceed the speed of sound. Our helicopter pilots, having the richest experience in the production of a pine scheme, cautiously promise a high-speed helicopter by the 20s. Is China already?
    1. kamil_tt
      kamil_tt 5 December 2015 08: 56
      The blades of the S-97 "grow" from an earlier model, experimental X2 (2008), and even from the "old man" S-69 (1972), so they have enough experiments, since there was no such gap as that of the Russian Federation in the 90s. The assembly of prototypes S-97 has been underway since 2012, and since 2015 it has already been tested, and will be put into service until the 20s.
      1. NordUral
        NordUral 5 December 2015 19: 52
        Here is a link to S-97 and its pedigree.
        Interestingly, do ours work in this direction?
    2. nazgul-ishe
      nazgul-ishe 5 December 2015 21: 43
      Well, all the Chinese dragons copy

      Remember where you started in the USSR? The main thing is money and the desire to produce. The Union did not do it very badly.
      1. kamil_tt
        kamil_tt 6 December 2015 11: 30
        all countries, legally or not, copy the best ideas from each other, so progress is faster, it's just not customary to write about it now. this is supposedly not patriotic)
  2. Snail N9
    Snail N9 5 December 2015 09: 11
    The series of helicopters of the "Z" type shows how quickly and relatively "cheap" it is possible to create a completely modern "cheap" combat helicopter. Well done Chinese.
    1. NordUral
      NordUral 5 December 2015 19: 53
      That's it. And our doubly offended.
  3. shura7782
    shura7782 5 December 2015 10: 10
    The Chinese are saving a lot on engineering. There is, shameless, copying everything and everything. They have their own, only the external design of the product. Although here the originals are recognizable.
  4. NEXUS
    NEXUS 5 December 2015 10: 22
    This helicopter boom is taking place not only in China, but also in our country and in the west. Despite the fact that we have two attack helicopters in service, I am sure KB Kamova and Mila have been developing new machines for a long time, which I hope will soon We'll see.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. gjv
      gjv 5 December 2015 11: 07
      Quote: NEXUS
      KB Kamov and Mil have long been developing new machines, which in the near future, I hope, we will see.

      A photograph of a completed flying laboratory of a high-speed helicopter, converted from a Mi-2K helicopter, made on December 2015, 24 at the flight test station of the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant in Tomilino.
    3. woker
      woker 5 December 2015 11: 10
      exactly 2 ?? maybe 6?
      1. The comment was deleted.
      2. gjv
        gjv 5 December 2015 12: 20
        Quote: woker
        exactly 2 ?? maybe 6?

        6 Ka-50
        72 Ka-52
        32 Mi-8AMTS
        93 Mi-28
        30 Ka-29
        more than 320 Mi-24
        There are really 6 types of attack helicopters, the main task of which is the destruction (attack) of targets on the ground, which is why they are also often called attack helicopters. hi
        1. Ilya77
          Ilya77 5 December 2015 13: 55
          They no longer fly on the Ka-50, they said so in Torzhok. The Mi-24 is essentially an old machine left over from the USSR, the Ka-29 is generally naval, transport-combat, and the MI8AMTS is transport-combat. So, in fact, there are 2 types of purely shock, Ka-52 and Mi-28, not counting the Mi -24.
  5. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 5 December 2015 10: 33
    An Augusta or South African-made helicopter is the most popular size on the market. We need to make an export helicopter based on Ansat with existing Mi 28 technologies.
  6. Siberia 9444
    Siberia 9444 5 December 2015 18: 30
    With their economies and human resources, China doesn’t care what helicopters they have, etc. But we need to do the best and train the best pilots for 41 years, we will no longer take out.
  7. PhilFilych
    PhilFilych 6 December 2015 03: 48
    Quote: Siberia 9444
    With their economies and human resources, China doesn’t care what helicopters they have, etc. But we need to do the best and train the best pilots for 41 years, we will no longer take out.

    All right. Even the Chinese z10 has already bought Pakistan. And it seems to me that there should not be any sale of mi 28 ka 52 outside of odkb. Therefore, light shock for export should be. And in which case, it would be possible to fill the losses with them. There were also projects in the USSR for cheap aircraft in case of serious destruction of infrastructure.
  8. dchegrinec
    dchegrinec 6 December 2015 05: 13
    China, of course, can learn to do everything! And copy everything! But he has one incorrigible problem that will not change in the coming decades. This is the inability to make high-strength parts, which leads to the instant exhaustion of the resource of everything they do: rockets, airplanes, cars, and everything high-tech.
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 6 December 2015 12: 26
      "But he has one incorrigible problem that will not change in the coming decades" ///

      Why incorrigible? The Japanese were "sick" with the same problem in the 60s and 70s.
      They did it. Created large laboratories: thousands of engineers sat
      and acted through enumeration of options. but not blind, of course, but by
      completely scientific schemes. And in 10 years they have achieved high quality steels,
  9. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 6 December 2015 11: 07
    We have one helicopter engine. VK 2500. For one dimension of a helicopter. This is the main problem. For small countries, keeping Mi24-28 helicopters is an inadmissible luxury. Both in the purchase and in the content. Need a 3-5t device with two engines. With the ability to carry 1-1.5 tons of weapons. With control systems unified with older models.
  10. Cympak
    Cympak 6 December 2015 14: 22
    Z-10 for the Chinese was developed in the Kamov Design Bureau on the basis of project 941 not implemented by us
    Many Russian design bureaus are selling their unclaimed developments to China, while Ukrainian, I think, everyone is doing it without exception. Hence the progress of the Chinese in aircraft and rockets.
    So MiG, for example, merged its achievements on 1,44 and its further development 1.46 into China. Guess twice what the 5th generation Chinese fighter project is right now
  11. nrex
    nrex 6 December 2015 17: 18
    Quote: shura7782
    The Chinese are saving a lot on engineering. There is, shameless, copying everything and everything. They have their own, only the external design of the product. Although here the originals are recognizable.

    In defense matters, all means are good; here one doesn’t need to hide a special mitt. There is nothing shameful about copying, in the Soviet Union, too, a lot of things were copied and decisions on this were made at the highest level.
  12. RUSLAN
    RUSLAN 8 December 2015 01: 31
  13. looker-on
    looker-on 9 December 2015 22: 19
    Thank you very much to the author for the mention of drones. I read about heavy models, this is very seriously colleagues. BZK-005 It may be up to 40 hours in the air! We have a dire situation (and we will be honest with others too). A drone is a thing. This is intelligence before the battle during and after the battle. This is target designation. And while the loss in the pilots-0%