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  • Jul 11, 2014
  • Updated: 1:43pm
NewsChina Insider

China’s new ‘Black Hawk’ helicopter takes maiden flight

Home-made utility helicopter successfully completes test flight, and analysts believe it has an edge over American counterpart in high-altitude regions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 December, 2013, 2:44pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 December, 2013, 3:11pm

A Chinese-made, People's Liberation Army helicopter successfully made its first flight on Monday, "filling a blank" in the military's arsenal, according to analysts.

The new type of medium-lift, general-purpose helicopter completed its test flight in an airport in the country's northeast on Monday morning, the official CCTV announced later Monday evening.

The report came after a photo of the aircraft emerged from popular domestic military forum cjdby.net, prompting a flurry of speculation from tech-savvy military enthusiasts about its potential performance and efficiency. 

Dubbed by amateurs as "Z-20", a codename that is in line with the naming pattern of previous military helicopter models, the aircraft’s exterior is similar to the US-made Sikorsky UH-60, better known as the “Black Hawk”.

It fills a blank for the Chinese military force
Fang Bing, commentator

The PLA utility helicopter is believed to have a capacity of 10 tonnes, putting it between the categories of agile attack helicopters and heavy transportation helicopters, military commentator Du Wenlong said during the CCTV news programme.

Unlike the later aircraft designed for specific applications, the new helicopter's flexibility allows it to be modified to cope with a wide range of tasks such as assault, transportation, electronic warfare and special operations. It can even boost the country's naval power, potentially being able make landings on PLA ships such as the aircraft carrier Liaoning, Chinese media reports said. 

“It fills a blank for the Chinese military force,” deputy professor Fang Bing of the PLA National Defence University said, when asked about the new hardware's significance.

It was unclear how many units of the new model would be added to the PLA's fleet.

China last purchased two dozen Black Hawk civilian models from the United States in 1983 after officials were amazed by its outstanding performance in high altitudes.

But the military experts believe the new helicopter’s five-blade propeller, unlike Black Hawk’s four, gives it more superior performance in high-altitude regions, such as southwestern China’s vast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is home to a restive Tibetan population and is flanked by India, with which it has long-standing border tensions.


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a very very creative and original helicopter design by the chinese. How do they come up with these brilliant designs ?
Their other utility helicopters, the Harbin Z-9 helicopter is a license-built version of the French Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin; The Z-8 is a reverse engineered work of the French SA-321Ja 'Super Frelon' of which they bought 13 in the 1970's; The Z-11 is a Chinese copy of French AS 350B Squirrel....so you are right, this is a first for them. Usually they copy French helicopters.
....as far as being of "superior performance in high altitude regions" than the Blackhawk because it has another blade...well that additional blade is also going to add more drag. Since China has trouble building powerful and reliable turbine engines, its probably likely to go slower because of it.
A Blackhawk is so powerful and reliable it can do a loop and despite all those G's, the rotors don't fly off and the engine is not pulled out.....That would be something I would enjoying watching this helicopter do.
Congrats, China ...
The Blackhawk is notorious for jamming up when flying in sandstorms, the fifth blade and superior avionics in the Z20 will solve this problem. The engine design is fourth generation turboshaft and 100% Chinese made. The Z20 has a multipurpose design which can switch from attack to transport to landing on carriers which the Blackhawk is incapable. The fifth blade combined with Chinese made superior rotors can give the Z20 higher altitude capabilities than the Blackhawk. The Z20 has far superior avionics than the Blackhawk.


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