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​Export version of Z-19 conducts maiden flight

The AVIC Harbin Z-19E attack helicopter has conducted its maiden flight in China's north-eastern Heilongjiang province.

The first sortie included hovering, ground-effect manouevring, and low passes, says China's official Xinhua news agency, in a report posted on the defence ministry's website.

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The Z-19E is the export variant of the Z-19 attack helicopter, in service with China's People's Liberation Army Air Force.

"It is able to be deployed for battlefield support and a variety of other missions in a complicated battlefield environment during both day and night," says Li Shengwei, deputy chief designer of AVIC Harbin Aircraft Industry.

The twin-seat helicopter's maximum take-off weight is 4,200kg (9,250lb). Its key missions are anti-tank and ground-attack operations.

The Z-19E features stub wings, each with two hardpoints. The helicopter lacks a cannon integrated with the fuslage, but can carry a gun pod on one the hardpoints.

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