The Chinese CAIC Z-10 Helicopter Gunship is built by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation and is designed by the Russia’s Kamov Design Bureau. The Z-10 took its flight for the first time in 2003 and is the first gunship helicopter that is designed and built domestically by China. This gunship helicopter was displayed for the first time at the 9th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai in 2012. The Z-10 attack helicopter is comparable to the Western gunship helicopters like AH-64 Apache, AH-1 Cobra, and Tiger helicopters.
Features of the China Z-10 helicopter
The Chinese attack helicopter has a layout of a conventional attack helicopter with a four-bladed tail rotor and a five-bladed main rotor. At the rear of the cockpit, there are two engines mounted. The cockpit is a stepped tandem type with a gunner at the front. Composite armor protects the whole cockpit and the bullet proof glass canopy is capable of bearing 7.62 mm rounds. The overall length of the helicopter is 14.1 m, a height of 3.8 m and a rotor diameter of 13 m. The tail rotor is located at the tall tail fin. The cockpit is a glass type one with modern multifunctional displays (MFDs). The two-man stepped cockpit resembles the modern setup of helicopters like the Hughes AH-64 Apache of the US army. The frontal cockpit accommodates the weapon officer while there is an arrangement for the pilot in the rear. The rear gives a commanding view of the field to be attacked. There are horizontal stabilizers at the base of the helicopter and the armament is present along the short wing stubs.
There is a facility to fit auto-cannon of 20 mm or 30 mm at the chin mounted turret. The external weapons are held using the hard-points provided at the two sub wings. The Z-10 attack helicopter uses a GJV289A standard database architecture that allows the integration of different weapon systems of Western and Soviet types. It can also use the modern HJ-10 anti-tank guided missiles (AGTMs) system. These missiles are considered as equivalent to the AGM-114 Hellfire of the US. The Chinese attack helicopter can carry around eight TY-90 air-to-air missiles, eight ATGMs for anti-armor role, and four missiles of the PL series. Furthermore, the China Z-10 helicopter consists of a radar warning receiver, an infrared jammer, a laser warning receiver, and a flare decoy launching system. The engines consist of Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system and can produce around 1142 kW of continuous maximum power.
The Chinese CAIC Z-10 gunship helicopter consists of modern and intelligent systems like air defense, warships, and anti-ship missiles. It is considered to be very similar as the Denel Rooivalk and Eurocopter Tiger systems of South Africa and Europe respectively. These Chinese attack helicopters are considered to replace the AH-1 Cobra helicopters made by the US. With power turbo-shaft engines, improved electronic counter measures and infrared systems, increased armor and speed, and ability to work with drone systems, the Z-10 is believed to be the next gunship helicopter of this age.