The Harbin Z-20 helicopter will be employed for a number of missions across China’s military, according to a report in Beijing’s official China Daily.
The helicopter appeared in the 1 October military parade in Beijing to celebrate 70 years of communist rule in China, and closely resembles the Sikorsky S-70.
One major development, according to an AVIC official, is the type’s fly-by-wire controls.
This is rare on western helicopters, although the developmental Bell 525 Relentless has adopted the technology, as does the considerably bigger CH-53K King Stallion. Sikorsky’s experimental optionally-piloted UH-60A Black Hawk has also been retrofitted for full authority fly-by-wire.
The report quotes Li Linhua of AVIC’s Helicopter Research and Development Institute as saying that the Z-20 also offers a new anti-icing technology, though he gave no details.
The helicopter is also appearing on static display at the China Helicopter Exposition in Beijing.
"Air-enabled deployment of troops and weapons relies on utility helicopters such as the Z-20," the report quotes a retired defence researcher as saying.
"Besides conventional functions, they can also be equipped with weapons to conduct combat tasks. In addition to the Ground Force, the Z-20 will be useful in the PLA Air Force and PLA Navy as it is suitable for many tasks like search and rescue, special warfare and anti-submarine operations. It will be deployed in the military in large scale."