Aerial Warfare

China’s Changhe Z-10ME Attack Helicopter Makes International Debut in Singapore

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China’s Changhe Z-10ME Attack Helicopter Makes International Debut in Singapore

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China’s Changhe Z-10ME Attack Helicopter Makes International Debut in Singapore
China’s Changhe Z-10ME Attack Helicopter Makes International Debut in Singapore

China’s Changhe Z-10ME attack helicopter , an upgraded version of the Z-10, has made its international debut at the Singapore air show with a fully equipped example on display in the static park. The helicopter’s weapons suite includes unguided and guided rockets, air-to-surface missiles, and air-to-air missiles, illustrating its versatility in engaging various types of targets. This marks a significant milestone for China’s aviation industry and its growing presence in the global defense market. The Z-10ME’s advanced armaments and sensors make it a formidable player in modern warfare and regional security dynamics.Developed by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC), the Z-10ME’s presence at such a prestigious event underscores China’s growing prowess in the aerospace domain and its readiness to compete on the global stage.

The Changhe Z-10 is a Chinese medium attack helicopter developed for the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force. It is designed primarily for anti-tank warfare missions but has secondary air-to-air combat capability as well. Initiated by chief designer Wu Ximing, the project had early Russian involvement with Kamov Design Bureau of Russia under a contract with the Chinese government, but the collaboration was abruptly stopped due to fundamental design philosophy disagreements. The Chinese designers and their customer, the PLA General Armaments Department, preferred a lighter-weight, more agile airframe with less emphasis on armor. The helicopter was further developed by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) and is locally manufactured. In September 2016, the PLA announced that all of its army aviation units had been equipped with the Z-10.

511 Tactical
 the Z-10ME attack helicopter independently developed by China, along with a wide selection of compatible munitions, is displayed at the Singapore Airshow on February 20, 2024.
the Z-10ME attack helicopter independently developed by China, along with a wide selection of compatible munitions, is displayed at the Singapore Airshow on February 20, 2024. (Photo by Aviation Industry Corporation of China)

The Kamov design bureau was contracted to perform the development work under a secret contract. Kamov worked with the Chinese to establish base specifications, such as weight, speed, and payload capacity, after which they had full freedom to design the helicopter. Kamov designed, tested, and verified an early stage of helicopter design, after which it was provided to the Chinese team and was substantially modified. Although the earliest stage of the design was made in Russia, the prototype construction, flight testing, and further development was performed by the Chinese. In June 2012, the United States charged United Technologies and two of its subsidiaries, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Hamilton Sundstrand, of selling engine control software to China which aided in the development of the Changhe Z-10. While the Chinese defense ministry denied that China bought or used the software, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Hamilton Sundstrand agreed to pay more than $75 million to the U.S. government to settle the charges.

Z-10ME is an upgraded variant was first unveiled in 2018, incorporating feedback from testing the Z-10M in Pakistan. It is fitted with active and passive countermeasures, missile approach warning system (MAWS), radar warning receiver (RWR), new engine exhaust nozzle pointed upwards to reduce infrared signature, new intake filtration systems, a more powerful WZ-9G 1200 kW engine, larger ammunition magazine, appliqué graphene-based armor panels, infrared jammer, and a new IFF interrogator. The helicopter can support anti-submarine warfare and is rated to operate on amphibious ships in a navalized environment. It can also engage in air-lifting (sling load) for up to three tonnes. Z-10ME-02 is a further development of the Z-10ME-01. It is fitted with additional avionics and an active defense system. A top-mounted millimeter-wave fire-control radar and active defense systems are mounted.[38][39] Defense systems included laser-based Directional Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM), active phased array electronic support measures (ESM), and active phased array missile approach warning system (MAWS).

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