China's domestically developed 2 ton-class Z-11WB armed helicopter is expected to enter service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and play a key role in ground attack, reconnaissance and antiterrorism, recent reports suggested.
A Z-11WB armed helicopter was seen painted with the insignia of the PLA on a production line in video footage released by Weihutang, a China Central Television program on military affairs, last week.
This means this type of helicopter will likely enter PLA service soon, Weihutang said.
Having made its maiden flight in September 2015, the Z-11WB is a light helicopter capable of carrying armaments including anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers, machine guns and drones on pylons on each side of the fuselage, the report said, noting that compared with the Z-10 attack helicopter, the biggest characteristic of the Z-11WB is that the light chopper can carry multiple fully-armed commandos and send them into special operations.
This makes the Z-11WB suitable for missions like ground attack, reconnaissance and antiterrorism, the report said.
The Z-11WB's small size, high mobility and varied applications means it can become an effective supplement to the PLA's current helicopters, and together they can form a complete armed helicopter system from 2 ton-class to 10 ton-class, Weihutang said.
In October 2019, the Z-11E, a made-for-export variant of the helicopter, received its first contract, as two of them were ordered by an African client.