A Z-19 attack helicopter with an extra millimeter wave fire control radar on the top of its rotor is displayed at the Fifth China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin on October 10. (Photo: Global Times)
The Chinese military has upgraded its large transport helicopter for plateau missions and added an extra radar comparable to Apache's Longbow to its light attack helicopter for more lethality, while China's top helicopter manufacturer exported two armed helicopters for the first time to Africa, it was revealed at China's top helicopter expo, which concluded on Sunday.
China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation and Changhe Aircraft Industry (Group) Corp under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) signed a contract, involving the export of two Z-11E armed helicopters to Africa on Thursday at the Fifth China Helicopter Exposition held in Tianjin.
The contract marked the first time this type of helicopter has been exported, and also the first time a product of AVIC's Changhe branch has been sold to Africa.
Capable of carrying six people, machine guns, rockets and anti-tank missiles, the 2.2-ton Z-11E can conduct military and paramilitary missions including land attacks, support, reconnaissance and counter-terrorism.
It features an advanced Chinese-made engine, has a high flight performance, is digitalized and easy to maintain.
It was not revealed which African country made the purchase.
The Chinese military also showcased upgrades to its other helicopters.
The Z-19 light attack helicopter on display had an extra millimeter wave fire control radar on the top of its rotor.
The radar, which military observers said resembles the Longbow radar on the US Apache Longbow attack helicopter, enables the Z-19 to search and track targets over long distances in complicated weather conditions day and night, and provide accurate targeting data for guided weapon systems.
The Z-8G, China's first large transport helicopter with a focus on plateau operations based on the original Z-8, can lift more troops and supplies to high-altitude areas.
The helicopter can take off from 4,500 meters above sea level and has a ceiling of more than 6,000 meters, China Central Television reported on Saturday, noting that the Z-8G has three powerful engines to ensure its flight and safety.
Many advanced technologies introduced during the development of the Z-20 could also be applied to other helicopters in the future, Chen Guang, a vice general manager of AVIC's helicopter branch Avicopter, told the Global Times at the expo.
The Z-20 features new technologies like a fly-by-wire flight control system, collision avoidance radar, anti-icing system, active vibration control and low-noise rotor design.