WZ10 Attack Helicopter - PLA Army
The PLA Army Aviation lacks an attack helicopter such as the AH-64 Apache or Mi-28 Havoc. The limited attack helicopter force consists of 30-40 WZ-9s and 8 SA-342L Gazelles, along with 60 Mi-17 Hips with unguided rocket launchers.
The primary mission for the treetop hugging WZ-10 is battlefield interdiction, eliminating the enemy ground fixed and mobile forces, and concurrently certain air combat ability. Development of a dedicated attack helicopter began in the mid-1990s at the 602 Institute and Changhe Aircraft Industry Company (CHAIC) in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province.
The new WZ-10 (Wuzhuang Zhisheng-10) is apparently similar to the South African Rooviak and Italian Agusta A129. T
he design uses the power plant and transmission derived from the Harbin Z-9, with the fuselage modified to accommodate two pilots.
The helicopter can carry up to 8 ATGMs, or IR-guided short-range AAMs. Although the helicopter might still not be as capable as the U.S. AH-64 Apache, it will probably play a significant role in Army Aviation modernisation and force compabilities.
According to another report, the PLA orignally selected the the MI-35 but chose the Rranco-German Tiger as the source of emulation.
Around 1991-92 the PLA leased a single Pakistani AH-1 for technical evaluation.
Future upgrades to the WZ-10 will include sensor package carried on the Z-11 light helicopter that will improve target acquisition. The WZ-10 is equipped with FLIR thus allowing an operations in all weather.
The helicopter's net weight is approximately 5,543 kilograms. The helicopter approximate length is 14.15 meters, is 3.84 meters high, and is roughly 4.25 meters at its widest point.
The WZ-10 is believed to be equipped with flight transmission system from the Z-9. The main rotar consists of 4 blades made up of a compound material. The diameter of the blades is approximately 12 meters length. The WZ-10 has a non-traditional design that uses composite and radar absorbant materials.
The WZ-10 is believed to have two European MTR 390 turboshafts, though concrete information on the system is not entirely clear. The navigation and avionics are probably from domestic sources. The navigation system consists of radioaltimeter, doppler radar and GPS.
Reports indicate that the WZ-10 has an optics system that relays sensor information to the pilots helmets; essentially a system similar to the US Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System (IHADSS). The helmet system also controls the direction that the machine gun is aiming. This allows the pilots to have an improved situation awareness as they can monitor flight systems and observe the terrain.
Two wings along the fuselage that are roughly 4.32 meters long may carry 1,500 kilograms of munitions, including a 57.0 mm multibarrel rockets, the red arrow 10(HJ-10) anti-tank missile. A 23 mm machine gun is fixed to the cabin at the front of the helicopter.
The HJ-10 (AKD-10) is China's third-generation of battlefield anti-tank missile (after the HJ-8 and HJ-9), and the first to be developed as an airborne weapon from the outset. The HJ-10 forms part of the wider weapons and systems package that has been produced for the Changhe Z-10 (WZ-10) combat helicopter. The HJ-10 is in the same class as the US AGM-114 Hellfire but follows a slightly different design approach. The status of the HJ-10 is closely linked to that of the Z-10 attack helicopter which has been under secretive development in China since the late 1990s. The Z-10 is China's first modern combat helicopter but it has received considerable technical assistance and direct design input from several Western suppliers. The main obstacle to progress for the programme has been to secure a suitable indigenous powerplant. A handful of Z-10 prototypes flew with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C turboshafts, but production standard aircraft (perhaps designated Z-10A) are to be powered by a Chinese-built WZ-9 engine. Delays in fully developing and producing these engines have slowed the Z-10's entry into service with the People Liberation Army (PLA).
The fire control system is similar to the French Starry Night digital integration design.
The cabin's bulletproof glass may resist 7.62 millimeter ammunition and composite armor under the cabin resists 12.7 millimeters machine gun fires. The cabin is equipped to maximize fire protection and thw WZ-10 is also outfitted with ejection seats similar to the Ka-50.
The WZ-10 is also equipped with radar warning systems and with systems that will alert the crew that it has been targetted with laser range finders. The helicopter is also equipped with passive countermeasures and in an effort to reduce fratricide is equipped with IFF.
Future upgrades to the WZ-10A will likely include new a radar, fire control systems, infrared exhaust suppression and the ability to be flown from naval vessels.
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