First Clear Photos Of China’s New Z-21 Attack Helicopter (With Striking Resemblance To AH-64)



The brand new Z-21 heavy assault helicopter. (Picture by way of @水雷屋 from Weibo)

The brand new Z-21 helicopter bears resemblance to the US-made AH-64 Apache and the Chinese language Z-20 (derived from the UH-60 Black Hawk).

China is testing the prototype of a brand new assault helicopter, reportedly designated Z-21. After the primary grainy images emerged earlier this month, some new larger high quality images (though taken by a telephone digital camera) now give us a greater take a look at the helicopter, which seems to have been developed from the Harbin Z-20 helicopter, itself derived from the US-made UH-60 Black Hawk, and with components that bear resemblance to the AH-64 Apache.

The brand new heavy assault helicopter reportedly makes use of the identical powerplant, rotors and virtually the identical tail part of the Z-20 to be able to velocity up the event and cut back the danger/price, in response to Chinese language army aviation skilled Huitong. Compared to the Z-20, the fuselage seems slimmer as the brand new helicopter adopted a tandem cockpit configuration, as an alternative of the side-by-side configuration of the Z-20.

The cover is very resemblant of the AH-64’s one, with the addition of AH-64-style cheek fairings which home varied avionics and defend the cockpit on the perimeters. The electro-optical system and the gun (reportedly 23 mm) are additionally put in in positions much like the Apache’s, respectively beneath the nostril and beneath the fuselage beneath the cockpit.

The resemblance with the Z-20 and AH-64 can be confirmed by Andreas Rupprecht, one of many world’s most authoritative consultants on China’s army aviation. Whereas not clearly seen within the images, some renderings discovered by Rupprecht present that additionally the engine pods are similar to the Apache’s.

The images seem to indicate additionally one other sensor on the principle rotor mast, which Huitong says it may very well be a millimeter-wave search radar. The stub wings seem to have a complete of six hardpoints, that are seemingly loaded with inert weapons (anti-tank guided missiles, rocket pods and unknown white pods on the ideas).

Actually, after wanting the images of the brand new Chinese language assault helicopter and its resemblance with the AH-64 Apache, the thoughts goes again to when, in 2013, the images emerged on-line of what gave the impression to be an actual AH-64D being moved in China on a flatbed truck. The origin of that helicopter was by no means decided, nevertheless the 2 essential theories noticed it both as an ideal copy of the US-made helicopter used as a film prop or one of many U.S. Military Apaches downed or crash landed in Iraq that was later fastened and exported in China.

That being stated, it’s additionally vital to focus on what mentioned intimately in our story concerning the stories that China used stolen U.S. military technology for the J-20: whereas reverse engineering, industrial espionage, and cyber espionage can facilitate and speed up the method of imitating superior weapon techniques, it isn’t an easy or simple course of….

Anyway, the Z-21 seems to be meant to enhance the Z-10 assault helicopter with higher safety and heavier payload. In reality, China’s present main assault helicopter is the CAIC Z-10 or WZ-10, an indigenously produced assault helicopter of primarily Russian design, initially developed beneath a secret contract with well-known Russian helicopter builder Kamov.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally learning to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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