China's Z-20 chopper features powerful homemade engine: maker

Global Times
Chen Zhuo
2019-10-10 08:03:59
A Z-20 utility helicopter is on display prior to the 5th China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin on October 9, 2019. Photo: Xu Luming/GT

China's latest commissioned and fully domestic manufactured military helicopter, the Z-20, is equipped with a homemade engine powerful enough for it to fly in low-oxygen plateaus, and features world-leading innovative technology, said the chopper's makers on Wednesday.

The Z-20 made its public debut at the National Day parade on October 1. At the 2019 China Helicopter Development Forum in Tianjin on Wednesday, Wang Xibao, chief engineer at Harbin Aircraft Industry Group under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), told the Global Times that it is "of an advanced level in the 21st century."

"It uses many technologies that should be considered advanced in the world, including the active vibration control, fly-by-wire, low-noise design for rotor and high performance aerodynamic design of the rotor," Wang said.

Li Linhua, chief technology expert at China Helicopter Research and Development Institute of the AVIC, said that during its development, many technological innovations were applied. Li also noted that only a few countries have helicopters with advanced fly-by-wire technology.

The Z-20 was entirely made in China, said Chen Guang, vice general manager of AVICOPTER, the helicopter branch of the AVIC, to the Global Times.

As China's latest utility helicopter, one area the Z-20 will operate in is plateaus, Chen said, noting that despite the lack of oxygen in high-altitude areas, the homemade engine is powerful enough thanks to technological breakthroughs.

The Z-20 will contribute to China's future helicopter development as new models can learn from its advanced technologies, Chen said.

The Z-20 is expected to make its first exhibition appearance at the 5th China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin, which runs from Thursday to Sunday.

In addition to flight performances by the Fenglei aerobatic team of the People's Liberation Army, it will put on a static display at the event.

The craftsmanship of the helicopter's fuselage is excellent, as the surface seems smooth even at joint points. The large cockpit windows take up over half of the space of the aircraft's nose, with two extra windows on the floors of the cockpit, giving pilots a very wide view, the Global Times reporters observed on Wednesday after closely watched the helicopter.

Traditional, complicated dashboards are not found in the cockpit. Instead, the control panels use multifunctional screens. The helicopters' interior is wide and can store more equipment.

The Z-20 is a medium-lift utility helicopter that can adapt to different terrains and weather and can be used on missions including personnel and cargo transport, search and rescue, reconnaissance and anti-submarine operations, experts said.

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