The export version of China's Harbin Aviation Industries (Group) Company (HAIG) Z-19 Black Whirlwind armed reconnaissance/attack helicopter has made its maiden flight.
Called the Z-19E, the new variant took to the skies on 18 May over the city of Harbin in China's northeastern province of Heilongjiang.
"The Z-19E carried out hovering manoeuvres, close ground-effect manoeuvring, and low passes above the airport to demonstrate its performance," reported the Xinhua news agency.
The media outlet quoted the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), HAIG's parent company, as saying that the model was developed to "meet the requirements of the international military trade market".
The narrow-body, tandem-seat helicopter is China's first export-oriented attack helicopter.
"It is able to be deployed for battlefield support and a variety of other missions in a complicated battlefield environment during day and night," Li Shengwei, deputy chief designer at HAIG, was quoted as saying.
The helicopter has a cabin layout that provides both aircrew with a good degree of visibility, while "its manoeuvrability and survival possibilities on the battlefield are great improvements", said Li.
With a maximum take-off weight of 4,250 kg, the Z-19E is a light armed helicopter providing advantages in cruising speed, climb rate, and usable ceiling, according to its developer.
The Z-19E is mainly intended to attack armoured vehicles and other ground targets, reported Xinhua.
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