Images suggest Z-20 helicopter has entered service with China's PLAGF

by Andrew Tate

Production versions of the Harbin Z-20 helicopter appear to have entered service with an aviation unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF), as evidenced by photographs published on Chinese online forums.

A Chinese Z-20 helicopter bearing the number LH953205: a serial number format indicating that this rotorcraft type has likely entered service with the PLA Army Aviation. (Via haohanfw.com)

A Chinese Z-20 helicopter bearing the number LH953205: a serial number format indicating that this rotorcraft type has likely entered service with the PLA Army Aviation. (Via haohanfw.com)

Although images of the Z-20 had previously emerged online, they had shown the platforms with either no serial numbers or only three-digit numbers, indicating that these were development or pre-production aircraft. The latest photographs, however, show two helicopters featuring serial numbers LH953201 and LH953205: the serial number format for aircraft in service with PLA Army Aviation.

The Z-20 is a medium utility helicopter in the 10-ton class. There have been many comments that the design is derived from the Sikorsky S-70C/Black Hawk, in part due to similarities in appearance but also because China bought 24 S-70C helicopters from the US in 1986: three years before the Tiananmen Square-related arms embargo was imposed.

There are, however, notable differences between the US and Chinese helicopters, not least in the use of a five-bladed main rotor in the Z-20 rather than a four-bladed one in the S-70. The Z-20 is thought to be powered by two WZ-10 turboshaft engines, each developing 1,600 kW, which would mean an increase of about 200 kW over that provided by the General Electric T700-701A turbines used in the exported S-70Cs.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/images-suggest-z-20-helicopter-has-entered-service-with-chinas-plagf

Production versions of the Harbin Z-20 helicopter appear to have entered service with an aviation un...

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