China Unveiled an Assault Helicopter Export Version

China Unveiled an Assault Helicopter Export Version

At the Singapore Airshow this week, China debuted the People’s Liberation Army’s trademark attack helicopter in its export form.

Even though China has previously taken part in the biennial airshow, this is the first time Chinese state-owned enterprises have flown a military aircraft in an airshow outside of their own nation.

At Airshow China 2021, China presented the Z-10ME, which has subsequently drawn comparisons to Boeing’s AH-64 Apache from certain observers.

The helicopter has been deployed by the PLA in military drills close to Taiwan and India. The International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank’s Military Balance 2023 assessment states that the PLA currently has over 200 Z-10s and all of its variants in service.

China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp., a state-owned company, and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China delivered the assault helicopter to the airshow. Changhe Aircraft Industries built the aircraft.

The business showcased the Changhe Z-10-ME-02 export version at the Singapore Airshow this year, along with air-to-air missiles CM-502KG and TY-90, rocket launchers, and GR5 guided rockets. Regarding the helicopter, Chinese representatives have not organized any media briefings or agreed to participate in interviews.

The helicopter is capable of transporting a 280kg drop tank along with 23mm high-explosive incendiary rounds. According to Flight Daily News, the airshow’s magazine, the aircraft is outfitted with a mast-mounted radar, a missile approach warning system, and directed infrared countermeasure equipment against heat-seeking (IR) missiles.

The Changhe Z-10 has been used in the past to carry bigger air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, like the AIM-9 Sidewinder.

The aircraft is being employed by the Pakistani military in addition to China. The government intends to purchase Z-10ME attack helicopters in 2022, according to Pakistan Army spokesperson Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar, in order to replace a previously inked contract for T129 attack helicopters from Turkey.

The Pakistani military is said to have received the first batch of Z-10ME helicopters last year, though the government has not revealed the quantity or cost of the orders.

Sanchita Patil

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