PLA Army's top choppers, drones to debut at upcoming helicopter expo

Global Times
Huang Panyue
2023-09-08 08:35:31

Attack helicopters assigned to an army aviation brigade under the PLA Xinjiang Military Command take off for a live-fire training exercise in the hinterland of the Karakoram Range at an altitude of nearly 5000 meters in late May, 2021. ( by Wu Shike)

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army will for the first time display some of its latest helicopters and drones at an upcoming national helicopter expo, highlighting the integrated operation capabilities between manned and unmanned equipment.

As China's sole national-level professional international exhibition on helicopters, the 6th China Helicopter Exposition is scheduled to be held from September 14 to 17 in North China's Tianjin, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Thursday.

More than 350 companies and a total of 65 helicopters and drones will participate in the expo.

The Z-11WB helicopter, the PLA Army's multirole drones and vertical takeoff and landing drones as well as the Aero Engine Corporation of China's WZ-16 turboshaft engine and hydrogen fueled engine will be exhibited for the first time at the event, CCTV reported.

The PLA Army equipment that will participate in the helicopter expo will focus on their advanced capabilities in actual combat, Senior Colonel Ning Tao of the PLA Army's Equipment Department said at a press conference on Thursday.

A total of 79 pieces of equipment across 14 types will comprehensively display the PLA Army's achievements in mobile operation and multidimensional attack and defense through the combination of air and ground elements, manned and unmanned elements as well as transport and attack elements, he said.

Helicopters, drones and airborne weapons in active service will be put on static display, including the debut of a type of wide-body transport helicopter and a type of armed reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle, highlighting the integrated operation capabilities between manned and unmanned equipment, Ning said.

Presented by the Fenglei Aerobatic Team, six flight performances will be delivered throughout the expo by seven Z-10 attack helicopters, six Z-19 attack helicopters and two Z-20 tactical utility helicopters, Ning said.

Civilian-use helicopters including the AC352, the AC312 and the AC311A will also give rescue performances at the event, said Zhou Guoqiang, a spokesperson with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, at the press conference.

The expo is expected to display the latest developments of the Chinese helicopter industry and offer some new insights into the country's next-generation helicopters, a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday.

Some of the global trends in helicopter development are high speed and stealth, and at the same time, China has yet to have its own heavy-lift transport helicopter and heavy attack helicopter, the expert noted.

However, China is now at a world-class level when it comes to the integrated operation between helicopters and drones, which will be displayed at the expo, the expert said.

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